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But I will venture to say the last natural and beautiful image, to which no translation can do justice, has been witnessed from the days of Ken, I might say from the days of the founder, to the present, and will be witnessed as long as the neighbouring ancient towers, dedicated for so many years to learning and piety, shall
“ crown the watery glade." I trust to the reader's pardon for this incidental interruption, and proceed to the classical studies there of him whose life suggested the imagery and excited the remembrances of the moment.
A Winchester scholar, advancing through the different classes of the school, acquires different habits of thinking, accompanied with a diffident consciousness of progressive acquirements. He now begins to feel the beauties of those works whose grammatical difficulties he had pensively pored over. The descriptions of Virgil and Homer have a charm for his imagination ; and his ear is insensibly turned to the music of the versification.
His awakened feelings are in unison with his studies, now no longer confined to the trammels of unintelligible grammar.
Hence, as I have observed elsewhere, the hill of Tanarus became that of St. Anne, and Cad-a-Ryne, the fortification above the water, St. Catherine; of which St. Catharine's hill, near Winchester, is a striking specimen.
Such a youth, when his companions are at play, often wanders “off-hill,” (as the term is,) “ Step following step, and thought succeeding thought."
Lowth. Such a character I remember poor Russell,* a
* Thomas Russell, of New College, my school-fellow at Winchester, had great poetical genius, and exquisitely cultivated attainments.
A small volume of translated and original poems was published soon after his immature death, by our common revered friend, now elevated to the metropolitan seat of this kingdom. This volume, though now scarce, is rich in strains of most harmonious sweetness and beauty, as every heart attached to poetry will acknowledge wherever it has been met. Mr. Southey has done justice to it; and it were to be wished that a new edition were published, together with the poems of Crowe and Bampfielde.
At Oxford, Russell's society was sought by most of the young men of birth and talent in the University. He retired from such society, where he was admired and loved, to a provincial curacy; and soon after, with the most engaging manners, the most benevolent heart, and the highest endowments, died, in early youth, of a consumption, the Curate of a village near Dorchester, of which county his father and brother were eminent solicitors.
Some of the boys were in the habit of writing local epigrams. A most elegant tribute, of the kind, was paid to the eloquence of Balguy, a prebendary, who had refused a bishopric, well known for his Sermons on Christian Benevolence. He had preached on the text, “ in wisdom there is sorrow.”
young man of extraordinary genius. Such, we may conceive, before he was cast upon the world, was Otway; such the sublime Young; such the tender Collins.; such Lowth, who, with kindred feeling, awoke the sacred harp of Israel,*--all educated in the same school—and such, to judge from his character through life, was the studious and the ingenuous Ken.
But adieu to desultory ramblings “off-hills," when the young votary of the Muses
"snatches a fearful joy." The day of ELECTION draws near—“ the great, the important day, big with the fate
This was written by Russell when a boy at school.
His early fate reminds me of some lines written by himself, upon a schoolfellow, dying, with a similar fate, and, in some respects, resembling him in character :
To a friend so sincere, to a comrade so gay,
Then haste with your myrtles to hang on his shrine,
And green be the laurel that waves o'er his tomb.
of Russell wrote the Letters in the Gentleman's Magazine, with the signature A.S. (Amator Solitudinis,) in defence of Warton, when he was attacked by Ritson. See his death recorded in the Magazine for 1788, p. 752.
annuates, panting to be placed high on the roll of succession to the great object of Wykehamical hopes, New COLLEGE.
A severer course of studies is now absolutely requisite, for nothing can be conceived more portentous than, at this time, to the ambitious student, the Election-chamber ! The Warden and Electors from New College have been received yesterday evening by a Latin oration at the inner gate of the college, spoken by one of the senior boys, with classical compliments to the learning and critical judgment of the illustrious visitors and examiners !
The next morning, the scholars to be examined are all in a fervour of anxiety and emulation. At length, they are ushered into the Election-chamber before the two WARDENS of either College, the Posers, as they may well be called, two Fellows of New College, the Sub-Warden, and Head-Master of Winchester. The scholars of the first and second classes are examined in sets, called Fardels, the form of the examination being doubtless nearly the same now, and the appellations the same, as they were at the time when Ken stood to be examined
To the Founder's kin, — descendants from the Founder,-according to the Statutes, the two first places are conceded. The place on the roll next to them is the great object of emulation among the others; and this is the time of the greatest solici
tude to a parent. He has spared no expense,-he has watched every improvement, — he anticipates certain success.
The examination itself, during three successive days, is indeed formidable to the tyro of classical studies.
The books are opened, Homer, Sophocles, &c. but the examinant knows nothing of the passages which he will have to render into English, at sight, before his new hearers. The last day of examination is more formidable still; for, ranged round the room, without pen or ink, and not having the most remote idea of the subject that will be proposed, those who form the first class are required to compose, and repeat, as soon as composed, Latin verses, on any subject given by the different electors; and this is absolutely necessary to gain or retain a place which will ensure any chance of succeeding to New College.
With respect to such examination, and critical exercises, I shall only observe, that, if classical scholarship be considered as necessary towards the liberal part of the education of a highly-cultivated English gentleman, whether destined to be a clergyman or not, it were best that he should be a scholar, not crudely, or by halves, but have a relish for the beauties, an ear to distinguish the harmonies, of the ancient Poets,—to have those harmonies familiar to him, -- to imbibe from them a perfect feeling of the charins of classical prosody, not