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Still louder breathes, and in the face of day
Summer, 1. 63. In painting the characteristics and caprices of insanity, Cowper has touched every heart in his well-known picture of “Crazy Kate.' But may not Bloomfield claim equal praise for his beautiful and affecting story of
1 "The most beautiful part in the description of this bird, and which is at once curiously faithful and expressively harmonious, I have copied in Italics. Milton and Thomson have both introduced the flight of the skylark, the first with his accustomed spirit and sublimity; but probably no poet has surpassed, either in fancy or expression, the following prose narrative of Dr. Goldsmith, in his History of the Earth and Animated Nature': Nothing,' observes he, can be more pleasing than to see the lark warbling upon the wing, raising its note as it soars, until it seems lost in the immense heights above us; the note continuing, the bird itself unseen ; to see it then descending with a swell as it comes from the clouds, yet sinking by degrees as it approaches its nest, the spot where all its affections are centred--the spot that has prompted all this joy.' This description of the descent of the bird, and of the pleasures of its little nest, is conceived in a strain of the most exquisite delicacy and feeling."
THE DISTRACTED FEMALE.1
- Naught her rayless melancholy cheers,
Fair promis'd sunbeams of terrestrial bliss,
* It presents as finished a specimen of versification as can be extracted from the pages of our most polished poets; and its pathos is such as to require no comment of mine."
Drake's Literary Hours, vol. ii. p. 467. 2 « From the review we have now taken of the Farmer's Boy,' it will be evident, I think, that, owing to its harmony and sweetness of versification, its benevolence of sentiment, and originality of imagery, it is entitled to rank very high in the class of descriptive and pastoral poetry, and that, most probably, it will descend to posterity with a character and with encomia similar to what has been the endeavor of these essays to attach to it.”
THE WIDOW TO HER HOUR-GLASS.
Come, friend, I'll turn thee up again:
Companion of the lonely hour! Spring thirty times hath fed with rain And clothed with leaves my humble bower,
Since thou hast stood
In frame of wood,
At every birth still thou wert near,
Still spoke thine admonitions clear-
And seen the growing mountain rise,
Its conic crown
Still sliding down,
The sand above more hollow grew,
Like days and years still filtering through, And mingling joy and pain. While thus I spin and sometimes sing
(For now and then my heart will glow), Thon measurest Time's expanding wing; By thee the noontide hour I know :
Though silent thou,
Still shalt thou flow,
But when I glean the sultry fields,
When earth her yellow harvest yields,
Thy daily task performing well,
Come, lovely May!
Thy lengthen'd day
Curl inward here, sweet woodbine flower :
“Companion of the lonely hour, I'll turn thee up again."
THOMAS ERSKINE, 1750–1823.
Thomas (Lord) Erskine, third son of the Earl of Buchan, was born in the year 1750, and was educated at the University of St. Andrews. After serving six years in the navy and army, he was induced, at the earnest request of his mother, who saw his talents, and jestingly said he must be Lord Chancellor, to quit the military profession and prepare himself for the law. In 1778, he was called to the bar, where his success was immediate and remarkable. In a case of libel, in which he advocated the cause of the defendant, Capt. Baillie,' he displayed so much eloquence and talent that the legal world was astonished, and nearly thirty briefs were put into his bands before he left the court. In 1781, he appeared as counsel for Lord George Gordon in what was called a case of constructive treason, and by bis wonderful skill, and eloquence, and legal learning, procured the acquit. tal of his client, and thus, for the time, gave the deathblow to the tremen. dous doctrine of constructive treason.
But there is nothing in the life of this eminent man which reflects so much honor on his memory as his exertions in defence of the privileges of juries. The rights of those pro tempore judges he strenuously maintained upon all occasions, particularly in the celebrated trial of the Dean of St. Asaph for libel, in 1784, when Justice Buller refused to receive the verdict of “guilty of publishing only,” as returned by the jury.2 In 1789, he again displayed his wonderful powers in the defence of Mr. Stockdale, a bookseller, who was tried by the government for publishing what was charged as a libellous pamphlet, in favor of the celebrated Warren Hast
On this occasion, he showed that the courage which marked his professional life was not acquired after the success which rendered it a safe and a cheap virtue; but, being naturally inherent in the man, was displayed at a moment when attended with great risks. In the course of his eloquent argument, he was inveighing very strongly against a certain "noble lord,” when the judge, Lord Mansfield, interrupted him, and remarked that “the Lord was not before the court." “I know he is not," was the bold reply, “but, for that very reason, I will bring him before the court. I will drag him to light who is the dark mover behind this scene of iniquity.”
* The following is a part of the spirited dialogue that ensued when the jury returned 1heir verdict. It shows the noble daring and courage of Erskine.
Mr. Erskine.--Is the word only to stand part of your verdict ?
Mr. Justice Buller.Then the verdict must be misunderstood ; let me understand the jury.
Mr. Erskine.-(With great spirit.) The jury do understand their verdict. Mr. Justice Buller.-Sir, I will not be interrupted.
Mr. Erskine.-I stand here as an advocate for a brother citizen, and I desire that the word only may be recorded.
Mr. Justice Buller.-Sit down, sir; remember your duty, or I shall be obliged to proceed in another manner.
Mr. Erskine.-Your lordship may proceed in what manner you think fit. I know my duty as well as your lordship knows yours. I shall not alter my
ings. This is one of his very finest, if not the best of all his speeches; and, “ whether we regard the wonderful skill with which the argument is conducted, the soundness of the principles laid down, and their happy application to the case, the vividness of fancy with which these are illusirated, and the touching language in which they are conveyed, it is justly to be regarded as a consummate specimen of the art of addressing a jury." This masterly defence procured a clear acquittal for Stockdale, although the fact of publication was admitted.
But the most arduous effort of his professional life arose out of the part he took in the defence of Hardy, Horne Tooke, and others, in 1794, charged with high treason. These trials lasted several weeks, and the ability displayed by Mr. Erskine on this memorable occasion was acknowledged and admired by men of all parties. “ Though the whole force of the bar was marshalled against the prisoners, and every effort used to beat down and paralyze their undaunted defender, his spirit rose superior to every difficulty, and his consummate talents shone forih in their native lustre. His indefatigable patience, his sleepless watchfulness, his unceasing activity of body and mind, his untameable spirit, his quickness and subtilty of intellect, together with a Herculean strength of constitution, counterbalanced the host to which he was opposed." In 1797, he delivered a most admirable speech-speaking more as a man than a lawyer-on the prosecution of a Mr. Williams, the printer and publisher of that foul, infidel book, “ The Age of Reason," by Thomas Paine. Some passages of this speech are equal to anything he ever delivered.
In politics, Mr. Erskine was on the liberal side, acting with Fox and others of that party. He strenuously opposed the war with France, and published a pamphlet against it, entitled “A View of the Causes and Con. sequences of a War with France,” which had an immense sale. On the death of Mr. Pitt, in 1806, when Lord Grenville formed a new administra. tion, Mr. Erskine was created a peer, and elevated to the dignity of Lord High Chancellor of England His public career may be said to have termi. nated with this event, and the remainder of his life was undistinguished by any great exertion. Whilst accompanying one of his sons by sea to Edinburgh, he was seized with an inflammation of the chest, which compelled him to land at Scarborough. He reached Scotland by easy stages, but expired on the 17th of November, 1823, at the seat of his brother, a few miles from Edinburgh.
The eloquence of Lord Erskine was characterized not merely by the elegance of its diction and the graces of its style, but was peculiarly remarkable for its grace and earnestness. As an advocate, “ he possessed the power of summoning upon the instant all the resources of his mind, and bringing them to bear upon the subject before the court with extraordinary effect. In this respect, his speeches bear a resemblance to those of Mr. Pitt, whilst they far surpass them in impassioned fervor, in brilliancy of imagination, in copiousness of imagery, and in that quality of the mind expressed by the em. phatic word-genius. His dexterity was likewise unrivalled at the bar, and these qualifications, united with a courage which nothing could daunt, and a