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and professor of natural philosophy at St. Andrew's, would also appear from the traditionary accounts we have of him to have been a person of some genius as well as learning, though in composing his said epic he seems not to have gone much farther for his model or fount of inspiration than to the more sonorous passages of Pope's Homer. The Epigoniad, published in 1753, can scarcely be said to have in any proper sense of the word long survived its author, who died in 1772. Nor probably was Glover's blank verse epic of Leonidas, which appeared so early as 1737, much read when he himself passed away from among men, in the year 1785, at the age of seventy-four-although it had had a short day of extraordinary popularity, and is a performance of considerable rhetorical merit. Glover, who was a merchant of London, and distinguished as a city political leader on the liberal side (a circumstance which helped the temporary success of his epic), also wrote two tragedies, Boadicea, which was brought out in 1753; Medea, which appeared in 1761: they have the reputation of being cold and declamatory, and have been both long ago consigned to oblivion. He is best remembered for his ballad of Admiral Hosier's Ghost-which he wrote when he was seven and twenty, and was accustomed, it seems, to sing to the end of his life,-though Hannah More, who tells us she heard him sing it in his last days, is mistaken in saying that he was then past eighty.

YOUNG.-THOMSON. Of the remaining poetical names of this age the two most considerable are those of Young and Thomson, Dr. Edward Young, the celebrated author of the Night Thoughts, was born in 1681 and lived till 1765. He may be shortly characterised as, at least in manner, a sort of successor, under the reign of Pope and the new style established by him and Dryden, of the Donnes and the Cowleys of a former age. He had nothing, however, of Donne's subtle fancy, and as little of the gaiety and playfulness that occasionally break out among the quibbles and contortions of Cowley. On thc other hand, he has much more passion and pathos than Cowley, and, with less elegance, perhaps makes a nearer approach in some of his greatest passages to the true sublime. But his style is radically an affected and false one; and of what force it seems to possess, the greater part is the result not of any real principle of life within it, but of mere strutting and straining. Nothing can be more unlike the poetry of the Night Thoughts than that of the Seasons. If Young is all art and effort, Thomson is all negligence and nature ; so negligent, indeed, that he pours forth his unpremeditated song apparently without the thought ever occurring to him that he could improve it by any study or elaboration, any more than if he were some winged warbler of the woodlands, seeking and caring for no other listener except the universal air which the strain made vocal. As he is the poet of nature, so his poetry has all the intermingled rudeness and luxuriance of its theme. There is no 'writer who has drunk in more of the inmost soul of his subject. If it be the object of descriptive poetry to present us with pictures and visions the effect of which shall vie with that of the originals from which they are drawn, then Thomson is the greatest of all descriptive poets; for there is no other who surrounds us with so much of the truth of Nature, or makes us feel so inti

1

mately the actual presence and companionship of all her
hues and fragrances. His spring blossoms and gives
forth its beauty like a daisied meadow; and his summer
landscapes have all the sultry warmth and green luxuri-
ance of June; and his harvest fields and his orchards
" hang the heavy head” as if their fruitage were indeed
embrowning in the sun ; and we see and hear the driving
of his winter snows, as if the air around us were in con-
fusion with their uproar. The beauty and purity of
imagination, also, diffused over the melodious stanzas of
the Castle of Indolence, make that poem one of the
gems of the language. Thomson died in 1748, in his
forty-eighth year.

Two
years

before had died his countryman, the Rev. Robert Blair, born in 1699, the author of the well known poen in blank verse called The Grave, said to have been first published in 1743. It is remarkable for its masculine vigour of thought and expression, and for the imaginative solemnity with which it invests the most familiar truths; and it has always been one of our most popular religious poems.

SCOTTISH POETRY. Thomson, whose Winter, the first portion of his Seasons, was published in 1726, was the first Scotsman who won any conspicuous place for himself in English literature. He had been preceded, indeed, in the writing of English by two or three others of his countrymen ; by Drummond of Hawthornden, who has been mentioned in a preceding volume, and his contemporaries—the Earl of Stirling, who is the author of several rhyming tragedies and other poems, well versified, but not otherwise of much poetical merit, published between 1603 and 1637, the Earl of Ancrum, by whom we have

some sonnets and other short pieces, and Sir Robert Ayton, to whom is commonly attributed the well-known song, I do confess thou 'rt smooth and fair,” and who is also the author of a considerable number of other similar effusions, many of them of superior polish and elegance.* At a later date, too, Sir George Mackenzie, as already noticed, had written some English prose; as indeed Drummond had also done, besides his poetry. But none of these writers, belonging to the century that followed the union of the crowns, can be considered as having either acquired any high or diffused reputation in his own time, or retained much hold upon posterity. Even Drummond is hardly remembered as anything more than a respectable sonnetteer ; his most elaborate work, his prose History of the Jameses, has passed into as complete general oblivion as the tragedies and epics of Lord Stirling and the Essays of Sir George Mackenzie. If there be any other writer born in Scotland of earlier date than Thomson who has still a living and considerable name among English authors, it is Bishop Burnet; but those of his literary performances by which he continues to be chiefly remembered, however important for the facts they contain, have scarcely any literary value. Leighton, the eloquent archbishop of Glasgow, although of Scotch descent, was himself born in London. The poetry of Thomson was the first produce of the next era, in which the two countries were really made one by their union under one legislature, and

* Large additions have been made to the previously known poetry of this writer by the recent discovery of a manuscript volume of his compositions, the contents of which have since been given to the world through the press by its pos· sessor, Mr. J. Roger, of Denino, Fifeshire.

the English became the literary language of the one part of the island as much as of the other.

The Scottish dialect, however, still continued to be employed in poetry. The great age of Scottish poetry, as we have seen, extends from about the beginning of the fifteenth to about the middle of the sixteenth century, the succession of distinguished names comprehending, among others, those of James I., and Henderson, and Holland, and Henry the Minstrel, and Gawin Douglas, and Dunbar, and Sir David Lyndsay.* It is remarkable that this space of a hundred and fifty years exactly corresponds to the period of the decay and almost extinction of poetry in England which intervenes between Chaucer and Surrey. On the other hand, with the revival of English poetry in the latter part of the sixteenth century the voice of Scottish song almost died away. The principal names of the writers of Scottish verse that occur for a hundred and fifty years after the death of Lyndsay are those of Alexander Scot, who was Lyndsay's contemporary, but probably survived him, and who is the author of several short amatory compositions, which have procured him from Pinkerton the designation of the Scottish Anacreon ; Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington, who died at a great age in 1586, and is less memorable as a poet than as a collector and preserver of poetry, the two famous manuscript volumes in the Pepysian Library, in which are found the only existing copies of so many curious old pieces, having been compiled under his direction, although his own compositions, which have lately, with proper piety, been printed by the Maitland Club at Glasgow, are also of some bulk,

* See First Series, vol. ïi pp. 185–199, and 242—248.

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