« VorigeDoorgaan »
Page. Life of the Author,
wild and savage prospects amongst the Alps, agree. able to Livy's description,
24 To Mr. West. Genoa; music; the Doge; churches i From Mr. West. Complains of his friend's silence, 1 and the Palazzo Doria,
ib. 2 To Mr. West. Answer to the former; a translation of 25 To his Mother. Paintings at Modena; Bologna; beausome lines from Statius, ib. ty and riches of Lombardy,
15 3 From Mr. West. Approbation of the version ; ridicule 26 To his Mother. The Appenines; Florence and its gal. on the Cambridge Collection of Verses on the Mar.
16 riage of the Prince of Wales,
2 27 To Mr. West. Journey from Genoa to Florence; ele4 To Mr. West. On the little encouragement which he
giac verses occasioned by the sight of the plains finds given to classical learning at Cambridge; his
where the battle of Trebia was fought,
ib. aversion to metaphysical and mathematical studies, ib. 28 To his Mother. Death of the pope; intended depar5 From Mr. West. Answer to the former; advises his
ture for Rome; first and pleasing appearance of an correspondent not to give up poetry when he ap
17 plies himself to the law,
ib. 29 To his mother. Cathedral of Sienna; Viterbo; distant 6 To Mr. Walpole. Excuse for not writing to him, &c. 3 sight of Rome; the Tiber; entrance into the city; 7 From Mr. West. A poetical epistle adelressed to his
St. Peter's; introduction of the Cardinal d'Auvergne Cambridge friend, taken in part from Tibullus, and
into the conclave,
ib. a prose letter of Mr. Pope,
ib. 20 To his Mother. Illumination of St. Peter's on Good 8 To Mr. West. Thanks him for his poetical epistle; Friday, &c.
18 complains of low spirits; Lady Walpole's death, 31 To Mr. West. Comic account of the Palace of the and his concern for Mr. H. Walpole,
4 duke of Modena at Tivoli; the Anio; its cascade; 9 To Mr. Walpole. How he spends his own time in the
situation of the town; villas of Horace and Mæcecountry; meets with Mr. Southern, the dramatic
nas, and other remains of antiquity; modern aquepoet,
5 ducts, and grand Roman ball, 10 To Mr. Walpole. Supposed manner in which Mr. 32 To Mr. West. Ludicrous allusion to ancient customs; Walpole spends his time in the country,
ib. Albano and its lake; Castel Gondolfo, prospect 11 To Mr. Walpole. Congratulates him on his new place;
from the palace; an observation of Mr. Walpole's whimsical description of the quadrangle of Peter.
on the views in that part of Italy; Latin inscripHouse. 6 tions, ancient and modern,
20 12 To Mr. West. On his own leaving the University, ib. 33 To his mother. Road to Naples; beautiful situation 13 To his Mother. His voyage from Dover; description
of that city; its bay; of Baiæ, and several other of Calais; Abbeville ; Amiens; face of the country,
antiquities; some account of the first discovery of and dress of the people,
ib. an ancient town not known to be Herculaneum, 21 14 To Mr. West, Monuments of the kings of France at St. 34 To his Father. Departure from Rome, and return to
Dennis, &c.; French opera and music; actors, &c. 7 Florence; no likelihood of the conclave's rising ; 15 To Mr. West. Palace of Versailles; its garden and
some of the cardinals dead; description of the Prewaterworks; installation of the Knights du St. Esprit, 8 tender, his sons, and court; procession at Naples; 16 To his Mother. Rheims; its Cathedral ; disposition sight of the king and queen; mildness of the air at and amusements of its inhabitants, 9 Florence,
ib 17 To his Father. Face of the country between Rheims 35 From Mr. West. On his quitting the Temple, and and Dijolin; description of the latter; monastery
reason for it,
22 of the Carthusians and Cistercians,
1036 To Mr. West. Answer to the foregoing letter; some 18 To Mr. West. Lyons; beauty of its environs ; Roman account of Naples and its environs, and of Mr. Walantiquities, ib. pole's and his return to Florence.
ib. 19 From Mr. West. His wishes to accompany his friend; 37 To his mother. Excursion to Bologna ; election of a his retired life in London ; address to his Lyre, in
pope ; description of his person, with an odd speech Latin Sapphics, on the prospect of Mr. Gray's
which he made to the cardinals in the conclave, 24 return,
11 38 To his Father. Uncertainty of the route he shall take 20 To his Mother. Lyons; excursion to the Grande Char
in his return to England; magnificence of the Itatreuse; solemn and romantic approach to it; his
lians in their reception of strangers; and parsimony reception there, and commendation of the monas
when alone; the great applause which the new tery,
ib. 21 To his Father. Geneva; advantage of a free govern. 39 To his Father. Total want of amusement at Florence, ment exhibited in the very look of the people ;
occasioned by the late emperor's funeral not being beauty of the lake, and plenty of its fish,
12 public; a procession to avert the ill effects of a lale 22 To his Mother. Journey over the Alps to Turin; sin. inundation ; intention of going to Venice; an inva
gular accident in passing them; method of travel. sion from the Ncapolitans apprehended; the inha. ing over Mount Cenis,
13 bitants of Tuscany dissatisfied with the govern. 23 To Mr. West Turin; its carnival; more of the views
25 and scenery on the road to the Grande Chartreuse; 40 To Mr. West. The time of his departure from Florence
Page. determined; alteration in his temper and spirits ;
on Diodorus Siculus ; M. Gressel's Poems; Thom. difference between an Italian fair and an English son's Castle of Indolence; Ode to a Water Nymph, one; a farewell to Florence and its prospects in la.
with a character of its author,
31 tin hexameters; imitation, in the same language, 50 To Dr. Wharton. Ludicrous account of the duke of of an Italian sonnet,
25 Newcastle's installation at Cambridge; on the ode 41 From Mr. West. His spirits not as yet improved by then performed, and more concerning the author country air; has begun to read Tacitus, but not to
ib. relish him,
26 51 To his Mother. Consolatory on the death of her sister, 32 42 To Mr. West. Earnest hopes for his friend's better 52 To Mr. Walpole. Encloses his Elegy in a Country health, as the warm weather comes on; defence of
ib. Tacitus, and his character; of the new Dunciad; kends him a speech from the first scene of his A.
ODES. grippina, 27 1. On the Spring,
33 43 From Mr. West. Criticisms on his friend's tragic
II. On the death of a favourite Cat,
ib. style ; Latin hexameters on his own cough, ib III. On a distant prospect of Eton College,
34 13 To Dr. Wharton. On taking his degree of Bachelor IV. To Adversity,
- 35 of Civil Law,
28 V. The progress of Poesy, 44 To Dr. Wharton. Ridicule on university laziness; of VI. The Bard,
- 37 Dr. Akenside's poem on the Pleasures of Imagina- VII. The Fatal Sisters,
39 tion, ib. VIII. The descent of Odin,
40 45 To Mr. Walpole. Ludicrous description of the Scol- IX, The triumph of Owen,
41 tish army's approach to the capital; animadver- X. The death of Hoel,
42 sions on Pope,
XI. For Music, on the installation of the duke of 46 To Dr. Wharton. His amusements in town; reflec
Grafion, Chancellor of the University, ib. tions on riches; character of Aristotle,
ib. 47 To Mr. Walpole. Observations on his tragedy of A.
MISCELLANIES. grippina; admirable picture of true Philosophy, 30
A Long Story, 43 To Mr. Walpole. Ludicrous compliment of condolence Elegy written in a Country Churchyard, 45 on the death of his favourite cat, enclosing an ode
Epitaph on Mrs. Clarke, on that subject, 31 Translations from Statius,
ib 49 To Dr. Wharton. Loss by fire of a house in Cornhill; Gray of himself,
The Life of Thomas Gray.
Thomas Gray was born in Cornhill, in the city liberality, took upon himself the blame of the quarof London, on the 26th of December, 1716. His rel; though, if we consider the matter coolly and father, Philip Gray, was a money-scrivener, but impartially, we may be induced to conclude that being of an indolent and profuse disposition, he Gray, from a conscious superiority of ability, might rather diminished than iniproved his paternal for- have claimed a deference to his opinion and judgtune. Our author received his classical cducation ment, which his honourable friend was not at that at Eton school, under Mr. Antrobus, his mother's time disposed to admit: the rupture, however, was brother, a man of sound learning and refined taste, very unpleasant to both parties. who directed his nephew to those pursuits which Gray pursued his journey to Venice on an ecolaid the foundation of his future literary fame. nomical plan, suitable to the circumscribed state of
During his continuance at Eton, he contracted his finances, and having continued there some a friendship with Mr. Horace Walpole, well known weeks, returned to England in September, 1741. for his knowledge in the fine arts; and Mr. Rich- He appears, from his letters, published by Mr. ard West, son of the lord Chancellor of Ireland, a Mason, to have paid the minutest attention to every youth of very promising talents.
object, worthy of notice, throughout the course of When he left Eton school in 1731, he went to his travels. His descriptions are lively and picCambridge, and entered a pensioner at Peterhouse, turesque, and bear particular marks of his genius at the recommendation of his uncle Antrobus, who and disposition. We adınire the sublimity of his had been a fellow of that college. It is said that, ideas when he ascends the stupendous heights of from his effeminacy and fair complexion, he ac- the Alps, and are charmed with his display of naquired, among his fellow students, the appellation ture, decked in all the beauties of vegetation. Inof Miss Gray, to which the delicacy of his man- deed, abundant information, as well as entertainners seems not a little to have contributed. Mr. ment, may be derived from his casual letters. Walpole was at that time a fellow commoner of In about two months after his arrival in EngKing's College, in the same university; a fortu- land, he lost his father, who, by an indiscreet pronate circumstance, which afforded Gray frequent fusion, had so impaired his fortune, as not to adopportunities of intercourse with his honourable mit of his son's prosecuting the study of the law friend.
with that degree of respectability which the nature Mr. West went from Eton to Christ Church, of the profession requires, without becoming burOxford ; and in this state of separation, these two densome to his mother and aunt. To obviate, votaries of the muses, whose dispositions were con- therefore, their importunities on the subject, he genial, commenced an epistolary correspondence, went to Cambridge, and took his bachelor's depart of which is published by Mr. Mason, a gen-gree in civil law, tleman whose character stands high in the repub- But the inconveniences and distress attached to lic of letters.
a scanty fortune, were not the only ills our poet Gray, having imbibed a taste for poetry, did not had to encounter at this time: he had not only lost relish those abstruse studies which generally oc- the friendship of Mr. Walpole abroad, but poor cupy the minds of students at college; and there-West, the partner of his heart, fell a victim to comfore, as he found very little gratification from aca- plicated maladies, brought on by family misfor. demical pursuits, he left Cambridge in 1738, and tunes, on the first of June, 1712, at Popes, a vilreturned to London, intending to apply himself to lage in Hertfordshire, where he went for the benefit the study of the law; but this intention was soon of the air. laid aside, upon an invitation given him by Mr. The excessive degree in which his mind was Walpole, to accompany him in his travels abroad; agitated for the loss of his friend, will best appear a situation highly preferable, in Gray's opinion, to from the following beautiful little sonnet: the dry study of the law.
They set out together for France, and visited “ In vain to me the smiling mornings shine, most of the places worthy of notice in that coun- And reddening Phæbus lists his golden fire: try; from thence they proceeded to Italy, where the birds in vain their amorous descant join, an unfortunate dispute taking place between them, Or cheerful fields resume their green attire ; a separation ensued upon their arrival at Florence. These ears, alas! for other notes repine: Mr. Walpole, afterwards, with great candour andi A different object do these eyes require;
My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine, ignorance and dulness with which he was surround
And in my breast the imperfect joys expire; ed, though situated in the centre of learning. Yet morning smiles the busy race to cheer, In 1744 he seems to have given up his attention
And new-born pleasure brings to happier men; to the Muses, Mr. Walpole, desirous of preserving The fields to all their wonted tribute bear; what he had already written, as well as perpetuat
To warm their little loves the birds complain; ing the merit of their deceased friend, West, enfruitless mourn to him that can not hear; deavoured to prevail with Gray, to whom he had And weep the more, because I weep in vain.” previously become reconciled, to publish his own
poems, together with those of West; but Gray Mr. Gray now seems to have applied his mind declined it, conceiving their productions united very sedulously to poetical composition; his Ode to would not suffice to fill even a small volume. Spring was written early in June, to his friend Mr. In 1747 Gray became acquainted with Mr. MaWest, before he received the melancholy news of son, then a scholar of St. John's College, and afhis death: how our poet's susceptible mind was af- terwards fellow of Pembroke-hall. Mr. Mason, fected by that melancholy incident, is evidently who was a man of great learning and ingenuity, demonstrated by the lines quoted above; the im- had written the year before, his Monody on the pression, indeed, appears to have been too deep to Death of Pope,” and his “Il Bellicoso," and "I! be soon effaced ; and the tenor of the subjects which Pacifico:" and Gray revised these pieces at the recalled for the exertions of his poetical talents sub- quest of a friend. This laid the foundation of a sequent to the production of this Ode, corroborates friendship that terminated but with life: and Mr. that observation; these were his Prospect of Eton, Mason, after the death of Gray, testified his regard and his Ode to Adrersity. It is also supposed, for him, by superintending the publication of his and with great probability, that he began his Ele- works. gy in a Country Churchyard about the same time. The same year he wrote a little ode on the Death He passed some weeks at Stoke, near Windsor, of a favourite cat of Mr. Walpole's, in which huwhere his mother and aunt resided, and in that mour and instruction are happily blended; but the pleasing retirement finished several of his most ce- following year he produced an effort of much more lebrated poems.
importance; the fragment of an Essay on the AlFrom thence he returned to Cambridge, which, liance of Education and Gorernment. Its tenfrom this period, was his chief residence during the dency was to demonstrate the necessary concurremainder of his life. The conveniences with which rence of both to form great and useful men. a college life was attended, to a person of his nar
In 1750, he put the finishing stroke to his Elegy row fortune, and studious turn of mind, were more written in a Country Church-yard, which was than a compensation for the dislike which, for communicated first to his friend Mr. Walpole, and several reasons, he bore to the place: but he was by him to many persons of rank and distinction. perfectly reconciled to his situation, on Mr. Ma- This beautiful production introduced the author son's being elected a fellow of Pembroke-Hall; a
to the favour of Lady Cobham, and gave occasion circumstance which brought him a companion, to a singular composition, called A Long Story; who, during life retained for him the highest de in which various effusions of wit and humour are gree of friendship and esteem.
very happily interspersed.
The Elegy having found its way into the "MaIn 1742 he was admitted to the degree of bache-gazine of Magazines,” the author wrote to Mr. Jor in the civil law, as appears from a letter writ- Walpole, requesting that he would put it into the ten to his particular friend Dr. Wharton, of Old hands of Mr. Dodsley, and order him to print it Park, near Durham, formerly fellow of Pembroke immediately, in order to rescue it from the disgrace Hall, Cambridge, in which he ridicules, with much it might have incurred by its appearance in a point and humour, the follies and foibles, and the dulness and formality, which prevailed in the uni- all our author's productions; it ran through eleven
magazine. The Elegy was the most popular of versity.
editions, and was translated into Latin by Anstey In order to enrich his mind with the ideas of and Roberts; and in the same year a version of it others, he devoted a considerable portion of his was published by Lloyd. Mr. Bently, an eminent time to the study of the best Greek authors; so artist of that time, wishing to decorate this elegant that in the course of six years, there were hardly composition with every ornament of which it is so any writers of eminence in that language whose highly deserving, drew for it a set of designs, as he works he had not only read but thoroughly di- also did for the rest of Gray's productions, for gested.
which the artist was liberally repaid by the author His attention, however, to the Greek classics, in some beautiful stanzas, but unfortunately no did not wholly engross his time; for he found lei- perfect copy of them remains. The following, sure to advert, in a new sarcastical manner, to the however, are given as a specimen.