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of manhood before he lost his sight; so had Milton. Homer's great work was his Iliad; Milton's, his Paradise Lost. Homer's second great work was his Odyssey; Milton's, his Paradise Regained. The Odyssey is as much inferior to the Iliad, as Paradise Regained is to Paradise Lost. Homer had Zoïlus for an enemy, and Milton had Lauder. These two epic poets, like Saturn and Jupiter in the planetary system, shine bright stars of excellence, round which inferior orbs for ever move in dull succession. Homer and Milton have long held the first rank among poets; the vigour of their minds, the brilliancy of their imaginations, the flights of their genius like those of inspiration, extended to the very boundaries of time
I will close these remarks with the following panegyric on Milton, by the author of The Seasons."
“ Is not each great, each amiable muse
Astonishing as chaos, as the bloom
SYMMON's Life of Milton.-JOHNSON's Lives of English Poets.-HAYLEY'S Life of Milton.-ANDERSON's Lives of the Poets.-M’NICOLI's Life of Milton.
THOMAS BLACKLOCK, D.D.
“ In manners gentle, in affection mild,
The Life of BLACKLOCK has a claim to notice beyond that of most of the Poets of our nation, with whom he is now associated. He who reads his Poems with that interest which their intrinsic merit deserves, will feel that interest very much increased, when he shall be told the various difficulties which their author overcame in their production, the obstacles which nature and fortune placed in his way to the possession of those ideas which he acquired, to the communication of those which his poetry unfolds.
The facts stated in the present account, are chiefly taken from the learned and ingenious Dr. Anderson's narrative, which is written with such copiousness of intelligence as leaves little to be supplied, and such felicity of performance as precludes the most distant hope of improvement. Among the few additional
particulars detailed here, the present compiler has endeavoured to give a complete account of his writings.
Dr. Thomas Blacklock was born at Annan, in the county of Dumfries, November 10, 1721. His parents were natives of the county of Cumberland ; his father was by trade a bricklayer, his mother the daughter of a considerable dealer in cattle; both respectable in their characters and, it would appear, possessed of considerable knowledge and urbanity, which, in a country where education was cheap, and property a good deal subdivided, was often the case with persons of their station.
Before he was six months old, he was totally deprived of his sight by the small pox, and reduced to that forlorn situation, so feelingly described by himself in his soliloquy. This rendered him incapable of any of those mechanical trades in which his father might naturally have been inclined to place him; and his circumstances prevented his aspiring to the higher professions. The good man, therefore, kept his son in the house; and, with the assistance of some of his friends, fostered that inclination which he early showed for books, by reading to amuse him; first the simple sort of publications which are commonly put into the hands of children, and then several passages out of some of our poets. His companions (whom his early gentleness and kindness of disposition, as well as their compassion for his misfortune, strongly attached to him,) were very assiduous in their good offices, in reading to instruct and amuse him. By their assistance, he acquired some knowledge of the Latin tongue; but he never was at a grammar school till at a more advanced
period of life. Poetry was even then his favorite reading, and he found an enthusiastic delight in the works of Milton, Spencer, Prior, Pope, and Addison, and in those of his countryman Ramsay. From loving and admiring them so much, he soon was led to endeavour to imitate them, and when scarcely twelve years of age he began to write verses. Among these early essays of his genius, there was one addressed to a little girl whom he had offended, which is preserved in his works, and is not perhaps inferior to any of the premature compositions of boys assisted by the best education, which are only recalled into notice by the future fame of their authors.
He had attained the age of nineteen, when his father was killed by the accidental fall of a malt-kiln belonging to his son-in-law. This loss, heavy to any one at that early age, would have been, however, to a young man possessing the ordinary advantages of education, comparatively light; but to him, thus suddenly deprived of the support on which his youth had leaned, destitute almost of any resource which industry affords to those who have the blessings of sight, with a body feeble and delicate from nature, and a mind congenially susceptible, it was not surprising that this blow was doubly severe, and threw on his spirits that despondent gloom to which he then gave way, and which sometimes overclouded him in the subsequent period of his life.
Though dependent, however, he was not destitute of friends, and heaven rewarded the pious confidence which he expressed in its care, by providing for him protectors and patrons, by whose assistance he obtained advantages which, had his father lived, might perhaps never have opened to him.
He lived with his mother about a year after his father's death, and began to be distinguished as a young man of uncommon talents and genius. These were at that time unassisted by learning; the circumstances of his family affording him no better education than the smattering of Latin which his companions had taught him, and the perusal and recollection of the few English authors, which they or his father, in the intervals of his daily labour, had read to him.
Poetry, however, though it attains its highest perfection in a cultivated soil, grows perhaps as luxuriantly in a wild one. To poetry he was devoted from his earliest days, and about this time several of his poetical productions began to be handed about, which considerably enlarged the circle of his friends and acquaintances.
Some of his compositions being shown to Dr. Stephenson, an eminent physician in Edinburgh, who was accidentally at Dumfries on a professional visit, he formed the benevolent design of carrying him to the metropolis, and giving to his natural endowments the assistance of classical education. He
came to Edinburgh in 1741, and was enrolled," says Mr. Mackenzie," a Student of Divinity in the University there, though at that time without any particular view of entering into the Church.” But this account may be reasonably doubted; for in the University of Edinburgh, no student is admitted into the theological class, till he has completed a