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would never have returned to his wife, if the money which he took with him, which was supposed to have been £1000 or £2000, had not been all spent : and he must have been a good economist, and frugal in his manner of living, otherwise his money would scarce have held out; for I imagine he had his whole fortune by him, I mean what he carried away with him in money or bank bills, and daily took out of his bag, like the Spaniard in Gil Blas, what was sufficient for his expenses.
WILLIAM SHENSTONE. 1714-1763. This lover of rural life was born at the Leasowes, in Shropshire, in 1714, and was distinguished, even in childhood, for his love of reading and thirst for knowledge. He was first taught to read by an old village dame, whom he has immortalized in his poem after Spenser's manner, called « The SchoolMistress.” He was sent to Pembroke College, Oxford, in 1732, where he continued his studies for ten years. Here he published, at intervals, his principal poems, which consist of elegies, odes, ballads, the “ Judgment of Hercules," and several other pieces. In 1745 he went to reside on his paternal estate, to which he devoted all his time, talents, and capital, so that the Leasowes became, under his care, a perfect fairy-land. “Now," says Dr. Johnson, “was excited his delight in real pleasures, and his ambition of rural elegance: he began from this time to point his prospects, to diversify his surface, to entangle his walks, and to wind his waters; which he did with such judgment and such fancy, as made his little domain the envy of the great, and the ad. miration of the skilful; a place to be visited by travellers, and copied by designers.” But all this was attended with great expense. He spent his estate in adorning it, and his death, which took place in 1763, was probably hastened by his anxieties.
Besides his poems, he wrote « Essays on Men and Manners," which display much ease and grace of style, united to judgment and discrimination. « They have not the mellow ripeness of thought and learning of Cowley's essays, but they resemble them more closely than any others in our language.” “He is a pleasing writer," says Campbell, “both in his lighter and graver vein. His genius is not forcible, but it settles in mediocrity without meanness. But with all the beauties of the Leasowes in our minds, it may still be regretted, that, instead of devoting his whole soul to clumping beeches, and projecting mottoes for summer-houses, he had not gone more into living nature for subjects, and described her interesting realities with the same fond and natural touches which give so much delightfulness to his portrait of
To think how modest worth neglected lies;
1 See the fine piece of Goldsmith, entitled “History of a Poet's Garden."
A russet stole was o'er her shoulders thrown;
A russet kirtle fenced the nipping air ;
For they in gaping wonderment abound,
Albeit ne flattery did corrupt her truth,
Ne pompous title did debauch her ear;
For never title yet so mean could prove,
The plodding pattern of the busy dame:
For well she knew, and quaintly could expound, What sin it were to waste the smallest crumb she found.
Hymned such psalms as Sternhold forth did mete;
All, for the nonce, untuning every string,
And pass'd much time in truly virtuous deed;
And lawnly saints in smouldering flames did burn:
By the sharp tooth of cankering eld defaced,
And warn'd them not the fretful to deride,
To thwart the proud, and the submiss to raise;
Forewarn'd, if little bird their pranks behold,
ROBERT DODSLEY. 1703—1764. This eminent bookseller and respectable author was born at Mansfield, in 1703. Being placed as an apprentice to a stocking-weaver, and not likirg his situation, he ran off to London, and took the place of a footman, and in 1732 published a volume of poems under the title of “ The Muse in Livery, or the Footman's Miscellany," which attracted considerable attention. His next production was a dramatic piece called “The Toyshop,” which was acted with great success, and the profits of which enabled him to set up as a bookseller. Patronized by Pope and other authors of the day, his shop in Pall Mall soon became the resort of a large literary circle; and so rapidly did his business increase, that in his latter days Dodsley might be considered as standing at the head of the bookselling trade in London. Having acquired a competent fortune by his double occupation of author and bookseller, he retired from business, to enjoy the fruits of his exertions, but died at Durham, while on a visit to a friend, September 25, 1764.
Besides the above, Dodsley wrote and published, anonymously, that well known and ingenious little work, “ The Economy of Human Life,” which is full of the best moral maxims. He also wrote a tragedy called “Cleone," which was well received, and a farce called “The King and the Miller of Mansfield.” But he is now more known for the works which he projected and published, than for his own productions. One of these was the “ Preceptor," a very useful book, in 2 vols., containing treatises on various subjects, and for which Dr. Johnson wrote a preface. Another was his “ Collection of Old Plays,” in 12 vols. His Collection of Poems in Six Volumes, by Several Hands," is still a very valuable book. But he is most known as the projector of the “ Annual Register," in 1758, which still goes by his name. He also has the credit of having first encouraged the talents of Dr. Johnson, by purchasing his poem of “ London,” in 1738, for ten guineas, and of having, many years afterwards, been the projector of the English Dictionary.
EMULATION. If thy soul thirsteth for honor, if thy ear hath any pleasure in the voice of praise, raise thyself from the dust whereof thou art made, and exalt thy aim to something that is praiseworthy.
The oak, that now spreadeth its branches towards the heavens, was once but an acorn in the bowels of the earth.
Endeavor to be first in thy calling, whatever it be; neither let any one go before thee in well-doing : nevertheless, do not envy the merits of another, but improve thine own talents.
Scorn also to depress thy competitor by dishonest or unworthy methods; strive to raise thyself above him only by excelling him: so shall thy contest for superiority be crowned with honor, if not with success.
By a virtuous emulation the spirit of man is exalted within him ; he panteth after fame, and rejoiceth as a racer to run his course.
The examples of eminent men are in his visions by night; and his delight is to follow them all the day long. He formeth great designs; he rejoiceth in the execution thereof; and his name goeth forth to the ends of the world. But the heart of the envious man is gall and bitterness; his tongue spitteth venom ; the success of his neighbor breaketh his rest.
He sitteth in his cell repining; and the good that happeneth to another is to him an evil. Hatred and malice feed upon his heart ; and there is no rest in him. He feeleth in his own breast no love of goodness; and therefore believeth his neighbor is like unto himself.
He endeavors to depreciate those who excel him ; and putteth an evil interpretation on all their doings.
He lieth on the watch, and meditates mischief; but the detestation of man pursueth him ; he is crushed as a spider in his own web.
TEMPERANCE. The nearest approach thou canst make to happiness on this side the grave, is to enjoy from heaven health, wisdom, and peace of mind. These blessings, if thou possessest, and wouldst preserve to old age, avoid the allurements of voluptuousness, and fly from her temptations.
When she spreadeth her delicacies on the board, when her wine sparkleth in the cup, when she smileth upon thee, and persuadeth thee to be joyful and happy; then is the hour of danger, then let Reason stand firmly on her guard. For, if thou hearkenest unto the words of her adversary, thou art deceived and betrayed. The joy which she promiseth, changeth to madness ; and her enjoyments lead on to diseases and death.
Look round her board, cast thine eyes upon her guests, and