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all the cares, all the watchings, all the restless days and sleepless nights-and, after all, the endless disappointments-that the most prosperous and successful will have to encounter through life? And then the fearful anticipation of that day, when a man shall find that all these things are as if they had never been!
But the grand difference between the Christian and the man of the world is that the burden of the one is gathering as he proceeds, while that of the other is becoming lighter and more easy: the man of carnal mind and worldly affections clings more and more to his beloved earth, and new cares thicken around his deathbed;
his burden is collecting as he advances, and when he comes to the edge of the grave it bears him down to the bottom like a millstone. But the Blessed Spirit, by gradually elevating the Christian's tempers and desires, makes obedience become more easy and delightful, until he mounts into the presence of God, where he finds it "a service of perfect freedom.”
BLINDNESS OF MILTON.
There lived a divine old man, whose everlasting remains we have all admired, whose memory is the pride of England and of nature. His youth was distinguished by a happier lot than perhaps genius has often enjoyed at the commencement of its career; he was enabled, by the liberality of Providence, to dedicate his soul to the cultivation of those classical accomplishments in which almost his infancy delighted; he had attracted admiration at the period when it is most exquisitely felt; he stood forth the literary and political champion of republican England; and Europe acknowledged him the conqueror. But the storm arose; his fortune sank with the republic which he had defended; the name which future ages have consecrated was forgotten ; and neglect was imbittered by remembered celebrity. Age was advancing Health was retreating. Nature hid her face from him forever; for never more to him returned
« Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine." What was the refuge of the deserted veteran from penuryfrom neglect
from infamy-from darkness ? Not in a querulous and peevish despondency; not in an unmanly recantation of principles, erroneous, but unchanged; not in the tremendous renunciation of what Heaven has given, and Heaven alone should take away; but he turned from a distracted country and a voluptuous court; he turned from triumphant enemies and inefficient friends; he turned from a world, that to him was a universal blank, to the muse that sits among the cherubim, and she caught him into heaven! The clouds that obscured his vision upon earth instantaneously vanished before the blaze of celestial effulgence, and his eyes opened at once upon all the glories and terrors of the Almighty, the seats of eternal beatitude and bottomless perdition. What though to look upon the face of this earth was still denied ? what was it to him that one of the outcast atoms of creation was concealed from his view, when the Deity permitted the muse to unlock his mysteries, and disclose to the poet the recesses of the universe—when she bade his soul expand into its immensity, and enjoy as well its horrors as its magnificence ? what was it to him that he had “fallen upon evil days and evil tongues ?” for the muse could transplant his spirit into the bowers of Eden, where the frown of fortune was disregarded, and the weight of incumbent infirmity forgotten, in the smile that beamed on primeval innocence, and the tear that was consecrated to man's first disobedience !
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD, 1766-1823.
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD, the author of “The Farmer's Boy," was the son of a tailor at Harrington, in Suffolk, and was born on the 3d of December, 1766. At the early age of eleven, he was literally the Farmer's Boy of his own poem, being placed with a Mr. Austin, a farmer, at Sapiston, in Suffolk. In this situation, which he has so accurately described, and where he first imbibed his enthusiastic attachment to the charms of nature, he continued for two years and a half, when he was apprenticed to his brother George, a shoemaker, in London. His principal occupation was to wait upon the journeymen, and in his intervals of leisure he read the newspaper, and was soon able to comprehend and admire the speeches of Burke, Fox, and other statesmen of the day. A perusal of some poetry in the “ London Magazine" led to his earliest attempts at verse, which he sent to a news. paper, under the title of “The Milkmaid,” and “The Sailor's Return."
In 1784, to avoid the consequences of some unpleasant disputes among his brethren of the trade, he retired for two months to the country, and was received by his former master, Mr. Austin, with the kindest hospitality. It is to this event we owe the composition of his admirable poem ; "and here," observes his brother, “with his mind glowing with the fine descrip
tions of rural scenery which he found in ‘Thomson's Seasons,' he again retraced the very fields where he began to think. Here, free from the smoke, the noise, the contention of the city, he imbibed that love of rural simplicity, and rural innocence, which fitted him, in a great degree, to be the writer of such a thing as · The Farmer's Boy.'
After this visit to his native fields, he recommenced his business as a ladies' shoemaker in London, and shortly after married a young woman by the name of Church. He then hired a room in Bell Alley, Coleman Street, and worked in the garret of the house. It was here, in the midst of six or seven other workmen, he composed the main part of his celebrated poem. Two or three publishers to whom he first offered it, learning his occupation and seeing him so poorly clad, refused it with almost contempt. But at length it reached the hands of Capel Lofft, Esq.,' who sent it with the strongest recommendations to Mr. Hill, the proprietor of the “ Monthly Mirror," who negotiated the sale of the poem with the publishers, Verner and Hood. These gentlemen acted with great liberality towards Bloomfield, to their honor be it said, by voluntarily giving him two hundred pounds in addition to the fifty pounds originally stipulated for his poem, and by securing to him a portion of the copyright. Immediately on its appear. ance, it was received with the greatest applause from all quarters, the most eminent critics coming out warmly in its praise; and within three years after its publication twenty-six thousand copies of it were sold.
His good fortune, which, he said, appeared to him as a dream, enabled him to remove to a more comfortable habitation, and though he continued working at his trade, he did not neglect the cultivation of his poetical talents. His fame was increased by the subsequent publication of “Rural Tales, Ballads and Songs," "Good Tidings, or News from the Farm," " Wild Flowers," and "Banks of the Wye." But an indiscriminate liberality towards his numerous poor relations, together with a growing family, brought him into pecuniary difficulties, which, added to long.continued ill health, so preyed upon his mind that he was reduced at last to a state little short of insanity. He died at Shefford, August 19, 1823, at the age of fifty-seven.3
The best poems of Bloomfield are “ The Farmer's Boy,” “Wild Flowers," with several of the “Ballads and Tales." It is enough to say in praise of them that they have received the warmest commendations of
· Editor of the “ Aphorisms from Shakspeare," and other works.
• The approbation first bestowed has steadily continued, notwithstanding the contemptuous derision of Byron in his " English Bards." But Bloomfield is in good company, and malignant sneers at Wordsworth, Southey, Coleridge, and Bloomfield are more sure to injure the lampooner than the lampooned. · I must here insert the beautiful tribute to his memory by Bernard Barton :
It is not quaint and local terms
Besprinkled o'er thy rustic lay,
Its power unlettered minds to sway;
Thy sweetest charms, thy gentlest thrall
such critics as James Montgomery, Dr. Nathan Drake, Southey, and Sir Egerton Brydges. The author's amiable disposition and benevolence pervade the whole of his compositions. There is an artless simplicity, a virtuous rectitude of sentiment, an exquisite sensibility to the beautiful, which cannot fail to gratify every one who respects moral excellence, and loves the delightful scenes of country life.
The “Farmer's Boy' is divided into four books, named from the four seasons. The following is an account of Giles (as the “Farmer's Boy" is called) going out to his early morning work, and a description of
-When at daybreak summon'd from his bed,
Spring, 1. 129
Forth comes the maid, and like the morning smiles;
Spring, 1. 191.
LAMBS AT PLAY.
Say, ye that know, ye who have felt and seen
Spring, 1. 309. Giles, having fatigued himself by his endeavors to frighten a host of sparrows from the wheat-ears, retires to repose beneath the friendly shelter of some projecting boughs, and, while with head upon the ground he is gazing upon the heavens, he suddenly hears
Just starting from the corn she cheerly sings,