but small. What he knew of antiquity, I suspect 55 him to have gathered from modern compilers; but, though he could not boast of much critical knowledge, his mind was stored with general principles, and he left minute researches to those whom he considered as little minds.

With this disposition he wrote most of his poems. Having formed a magnificent design, he was careless of particular and subordinate elegances; he studied no niceties of versification, he waited for no felicities of fancy, but caught his first thoughts in the first words in which they were presented; nor does it appear that he saw beyond his own performances, or had ever elevated his views to that ideal perfection which every genius born to excel is condemned, always to pursue, and never overtake. In the first suggestions of his imagination he acquiesced; he thought them good, and did not seek for better. His works may be read a long time without the occurrence of a single line that stands prominent from the rest.

The poem on "Creation" has, however, the ap
pearance of more circumspection; it wants neither
harmony of numbers, accuracy of thought, nor ele-
gance of diction; it has, either been written with
great care, or, what cannot be imagined of so long
a work, with such felicity as made care less ne-


Its two constituent parts are ratiocination and description. To reason in verse is allowed to be difficult; but Blackmore not only reasons in verse, but very often reasons poetically, and finds the art of uniting ornament with strength, and ease with closeness. This is a skill which Pope might have condescended to learn from him, when he needed it so much in his "Moral Essays,"

In his descriptions, both of life and nature, the poet and the philosopher happily co-operate; truth is recommended by elegance, and elegance sus tained by truth.

In the structure and order of the poem, not only the greater parts are properly consecutive, but the didactic and illustrative.paragraphs are so happily mingled, that labour is relieved by pleasure, and the attention is led on through a long succession of varied excellence to the original position, the fundamental principle of wisdom and of virtue.

As the heroic poems of Blackmore are now little read, it is thought proper to insert, as a specimen from "Prince Arthur," the song of Mopas, mentioned by Molineux :

But that which Arthur with most pleasure heard
Were noble strains, by Mopas sung, the bard,
Who to his harp in lofty verse began,

And through the secret maze of Nature ran,
He the Great Spirit sung, that all things fill'd,
That the tumultuous waves of Chaos still'd;
Whose nod dispos'd the jarring seeds to peace,
And made the wars of hostile atoms cease.
All beings, we in fruitful nature find,
Proceeded from the Great Eternal mind;
Streams of his unexhausted spring of power,
And, cherish'd with his influence, endure.
He spread the pure cerulean fields on high,
And arch'd the chambers of the vaulted sky,
Which he, to suit their glory with their height,
Adorn'd with globes, that reel, as drunk with

His hand directed all the tuneful spheres,

He turn'd their orbs and polished all the stars.
He fill'd the Sun's vast lamp with golden light,
And bid the silver Moon adorn the night.
He spread the airy Ocean without shores,
Where birds are wafted with their feather'd oars.
Then sung the bard how the light vapours rise
From the warm earth, and cloud the smiling skies;
He sung how some, chill'd in their airy flight,
Fall scatter'd down in pearly dew by night;


How some, rais'd higher, sit in secret steams
On the reflected points of bounding beams,
Till, chill'd with cold, they shade th' ethereal plain,
Then on the thirsty earth descend in rain;
How some, whose parts a slight contexture shew,
Sink, hovering through the air, in fleecy snow;
How part is spun in silken threads, and clings
Entangled in the grass in glewy strings;
How others stamp to stones, with rushing sound
Fall from their crystal quarries to the ground;
How some are laid in trains, that kindled fly,
In harmless fires by night, about the sky;
How some in winds blow with impetuous force,
And carry ruin where they bend their course,
While some conspire to form a gentle breeze,
To fan the air and play among the trees;
How some, enraged, grow turbulent and loud,
Pent in the bowels of a frowning cloud,
That cracks, as if the axis of the world

Was broke, and heaven's bright towers were down-
wards hurl'd.

He sung how earth's wide ball, at Jove's command,
Did in the midst on airy columns stand;

And how the soul of plants, in prison held,
And bound with sluggish fetters, lies conceal'd
Till, with the Spring's warm beams, almost releas'd
From the dull weight with which it lay oppress'd,
Its vigour spreads, and makes the teeming earth
Heave up, and labour with the sprouting birth:
The active spirit freedom seeks in vain,
It only works and twists a stronger chain;
Urging its prison's sides to break away,
It makes that wider where 'tis forced to stay:
Till, having form'd its living house, it rears
Its head, and in a tender plant appears.
Hence springs the oak, the beauty of the grove,
Whose stately trunk fierce storms can scarcely


Hence grows the cedar, hence the swelling vine
Does round the elm its purple clusters twine.


Hence painted flowers the smiling gardens bless,
Both with their fragrant scent and gaudy dress.
Hence the white lily in full beauty grows,
Hence the blue violet, and blushing rose.
He sung how sun-beams brood upon the earth,
And in the glebe hatch such a numerous birth;
Which way the genial warmth in Summer storms
Turns putrid vapours to a bed of worms;
How rain, transform'd by this prolific power,
Falls from the clouds an animated shower.
He sung the embryo's growth within the womb,
And how the parts their various shapes assume;
With what rare art the wondrous structure's

From one crude mass to such perfection brought;
That no part useless, none misplac'd we see,
None are forgot, and more would monstrous be.



HE brevity with which I am to write the account of ELIJAH FENTON is not the effect of indifference or negligence. I have sought intelligence among his relations in his native country, but have not obtained it.

He was born near Newcastle, in Staffordshire, of an ancient family, whose estate was very consi

He was born at Shelton, near Newcastle, May 20, 1683; and was the youngest of eleven children of John Fenton, an attorney at law, and one of the coroners of the county of Stafford. His father died in 1694; and his grave, in the church-yard of Stoke


derable; but he was the youngest of eleven children, and being, therefore, necessarily destined to some lucrative employment, was sent first to school, and afterwards to Cambridge; but, with many other wise and virtuous men, who, at that time of discord and debate, consulted conscience, whether well or ill informed, more than interest, he doubted the legality of the government, and, refusing to

upon Trent, is distinguished by the following elegant Latin inscription, from the pen of his son:

H. S. E.

de Shelton

antiquâ stirpe generosus; juxta reliquias conjugis CATHERINE

formâ, moribus, pietate,
optimo viro dignissimæ:

intemeratâ in ecclesiam fide,
et virtutibus intaminatis enituit;
necnon ingenii lepore
bonis artibus expoliti,

ac animo erga omnes benevolo,
sibi suisque jucundus vixit.
Decem annos uxori dilectæ superstes

magnum sui desiderium bonis

omnibus reliquit,

salutis humanæ 1694,


ætatis suæ 56.

See Gent. Mag. 1791, vol. LXI. p. 703.-N.

He was entered of Jesus College, and took a bachelor's degree in 1704; but it appears by the list of Cambridge graduates that he removed in 1726 to Trinity Hall.-N.

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