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every one of the Monthly Reviewers, accompanied by a private letter, stating the object of his publication, and imploring their indulgence. Of this, notice was taken by the reviewers, in terms of contemptuous pity. With characteristic candour, they extracted the four worst lines in the book, as a fair specimen of the whole. They recommended him to adopt some other mode of defraying the expenses of his education at the university, and proposed a private subscription, as a substitute.
It may easily be conceived how a boy of feelings so exquisitely delicate, was affected by such wanton outrage. It drove him, as he confesses in one of his letters to a correspondent, almost to desperation.
Severe as this mortification was the reviewers were, beyond their intentions, favourable to the poet, for it introduced him to the acquaintance of Robert Southey. He could not in the present crisis have found a friend better calculated to afford him consolation, than this gentleman, who, as himself states, has been reviewed seventy times by his critics. Southey advised him to publish a larger volume of poems to raise a fund for the purpose above explained, and generously offered him whatever assistance he could render. Henry, however, having found other resources to defray his collegiate expenses, was induced to decline the friendly offer. The account of his conversion from Deism to Christianity might here be passed over without notice as it breaks the thread of the narrative; but higher motives, we trust, than chronological accuracy, imperiously demand its detail. The Rev. Mr. Piggat having ascertained the bent of his religious opinions, sent him “Scott's Force of Truth” to peruse. Henry received the book and coldly replied, he would write an answer to it. About à fortnight afterwards, his friend, who was the bearer, of the book, called on him and desired to know how he proceeded in his answer. Henry replied this was out of his power; that the book contained the principles of eternal truth, and that he would gladly renounce his highest hopes of literary fame to obtain one of the lowest seats in Heaven. From this hour he became a new man.. We cannot quit this subject without congratulating Mr. Piggat on the pleasure he must now feel when reflecting on his agency in this transaction. The moment in which Henry re
ceived the loan from his hands might have been the turning point of the boy's destiny, and how grateful must he feel in having been thus made the instrument of salvation.
When Henry's opinions on religious matters became settled and confirmed, nothing, neither the prospects which the law afforded, the ardent remonstrances of his friends, the precarious hope of acquiring a decent competency by the preaching of the gospel, the pecuniary embarrassments he would labour under to acquire his preparatory education at the university, nor the tears of his beloved mother could shake his steadfast resolution. His employers, although his assistance was so essential in their office, frankly concurred in this change of his views, and cordially agreed to relinquish the remainder of his time.
Several clergymen exerted themselves in his behalf, and a plan was laid for the procurement of the necessary funds. He was allowed the absence of a month from the office for perfecting himself in his preparatory studies, during which time he was secluded from all but the society of his nearest friends. At the conclusion of that term, the melancholy intelligence was brought that all his prospects were blasted.
He then applied himself with redoubled ardour to the law, to regain the time that he had lost, to the manifest detriment of his health. He would read until one, two, and sometimes until even three o'clock in the morning, throw himself upon his couch and sleep until five. When his mother came into the room to extinguish the lamp he would hide it in a cupboard, lay his head upon the pillow, affect sleep, and after her departure resume "bis studies once more. His excessive application gave to his constitution so rude a shock that it forced him to relax.
By the assistance of several of his friends, an arrangement was at length made that opened for his admission the doors of Cambridge university. This, flattering as it may seem, proved in the end fatal to the constitution of this remarkable boy. He pursued the same unrelenting severity in his studies, and frequently fourteen hours, of the day were occupied by his book. Distinguished as he was for his classical attainments on his first entrance into Cambridge, life was the penalty he paid for such honour. His first term a scholarship having become vacant, Henry was advised to contend for it, and his name was set down in the list of candidates. This he passed the whole time in preparing himself for, reading in bed, and in his walks, suffering no portion of his time to remain unoccupied. His constitution sunk under his efforts and compelled him to renounce his competitorship. Directly after this the general examination came on, and so shattered and exhausted was his frame by study, that strong and stimulating medicines were applied to enable him to undergo the trial. He was pronounced the first man of his years. Exercise he took indeed; but this was no relaxation; as an evi. dence of which, during his walks, he committed to memory a whole tragedy of Euripides.
The following year he was pronounced the first at the great college examination, and also one of the three best writers between whom the examinants could not undertake to decide. The college offered him at their own expense a private tutor in the mathematics during the vacation. But relaxation, entire relaxation from study, now constituted his only hope. He came to London for that purpose; but so great was the variety of stimulating objects in that metropolis, he returned to the university with a constitution more impaired by his journey. He was at last overcome by his excrtions, and it was the opinion of his medical attendants that his mind was worn out; that if he had recovered his health his intellect would have been impaired. At length, on the 19th day of October, 1806, he resigned his soul into the hands of his Maker, in the 21st year of his age.
Thus fell this promising youth. Mr. Southey declares, that when his papers were confided to his custody, he was astonished at the industry of the boy. He found papers on law, electricity, chemistry, upon the Latin and Greek languages from their rudiments to their higher branches, history, chronology, divinity, the fathers, &c. His sonnets were likewise numerous. He had begun three tragedies, one by the name of Boadicea, another, Inez de Castro, and a third on a fictitious subject.
His private character may be easily comprehended from the following sketch, rude and imperfect as it is. One peculiarity is, notwithstanding, worthy of notice. While he wrote to his mother and to his brother the most flattering accounts of his
health, to one friend only would he reveal his real state-SO fearful was he of alarming maternal tenderness. This was the only deception he was ever guilty of towards that excellent parent. To the younger members of the family his letters breathe pa. rental admonition and fraternal tenderness.
His temper was irritable by nature; but his own good sense, bis piety and his philosophy combined, enabled him effectually to subdue this unhappy propensity, and no one after that conquest could be more tender and conciliatory towards the faults of others, or more inveterate and severely irreconcilable on his own.
Whatever causes and anxieties oppressed his life, he was sedulously careful not to impart. While his face was all serenity, his mind was often sunk amid the glooms of dejection; yet in These moments while to every eye but to that of Omniscience his heart appeared at ease, he would enter into all the sorrows of a friend, participate in his troubles, and resign his own cares to give room to another train of melancholy thoughts.
He was avaricious but of one thing, and that was a noble passion-he was avaricious of time. In company, or out of it, in his study, or in the field amidst the retirement of the village, or the crowds of the metropolis, or on the bed of sickness and pain, he allowed to his intellect no respite. But while he was thus the miser of time, he was, we have seen, profuse and prodigal of health. If we may form an opinion from his poems, he judged an early death inevitable. This, if it did not stimulate, certainly did not relax one fibre of his efforts.
Cold prudence may pronounce this an error, and so undoubtedly it was but it was a generous one. Great minds are as discernible in their faults as in their virtues. They both point to something heroic, adventurous and aspiring. Their ambition, far from desponding, swells and expands with the vastness of the object until they are literally made new creatures. .
Nothing can be conceived more delightful than such a mind contemplating its own state. A man who had been in the habit of making such generous sacrifices, might cast his eye down through a long interposing train of events to the period of his infancy, and discern the point of time when the mercst trifle affected his repose. He might then, by a shorter glance of memory, reach the period when labour was regarded as irksome to obtain any object however splendid and dazzling: when any faligue of the soul or the body, would cause such puny industry to relax. After he had thus amused himself, with what satisfaction and self-complacency would he dwell on that period, when a generous ambition flowed like liquid fire through his veins, and seemed to feed the lamp of his existence; when every effort was relaxation in comparison with the object panted after and every moment of life was grudged that was not occupied in a struggle for its attainment.
This is, indeed, as far as can be, a regeneration of nature; a man is born with new habits and desires, and can scarcely be called, without doing violence to phraseology, the same individual he was. In comparison to this what are lengths of years, and the dull revolutions of the seasons? Nothing-worse than nothing. Here the character of White shines with uncommon effulgence; but here its radiance does not end. When such sacrifices are made, we may well imagine how dear that object must have been. Can we believe that this boy would be capable of renouncing even this object for another? Incredible as this may appear such was nevertheless the fact. The moment the divine light penetrated his soul, literary fame, the former idol of his heart, sunk in the conflict with devotion; and eternity monopolized all his hopes. Fame had before banished the apprehensions of the grave: and this was in its turn subdued by the great master passion that captivated his whole heart, and absorbed all its anxieties. So much are twenty-one years of an existence rightly appropriated capable of accomplishing.
We question whether these beautiful relics of this illustrious youth, are faithful evidences of the extent of his intellect. His mind was variously occupied—it was turning in a constant revolution from study to study; and he rarely, if ever, bestowed for a long time his undivided attention on one. These various studies were further in hospitable and uncongenial; they refused the right hand of fellowship to each other, and he allowed to his favourite one those moments of relaxation only which he snatched from severer pursuits. Of these relics, written under circumstances so adverse and inauspicious, we are informed