« EdellinenJatka »
formality will have consigned them to oblivion, when time shall have matured the laurels which Justice has planted around his tomb.
If it be allowed that he does not examine the merits of an author, with all the subtelty of refinement, and that he displays delicacy of judgment rather than profundity of reasoning, yet this concession places him as a critic in the first rank. The writer who examines the genius of an author with rigorous sagaci. ty, and he who decides by the influence of taste, have perhaps, equally improved the judgment of the world, though their pursuits are different. The inquiries of the one are formed to gratify the scholar, the essays of the other to please and to improve the reader.
His poetry displays the talents of a man, who was incapable of sublimity and could avoid meanness. His compositions are
ornamented by learning, but are not illuminated by genius. His | metaphors are generally false, and his similies imperfect. He seems to have aimed at correctness, but is frequently faulty in his rhymes, and sometimes disgusts by repetition. Johnson bas praised his Campaign as superior to the other poems which were written upon the same occasion; but this is not a proof of the abilities of its authors, but the dullness of his rivals. His letter from Italy and his verses to Kneller merit the praises they have received; but if these be retained as the productions of a man who appeared above contempt in whatever he pursued, the rest of his poetry may be suffered to glide into oblivion, without injustice to its author, or injury to the world.
As a perfect magician in the management of style, we have always admired lord BOLINGBROKE. He has more perfectly at command the “ardentia verba,” than any of the moderns. He is an eloquent enthusiast, whether he speak logically in the praise of Virtue, or sophistically, as the apologist for Vice. A great and original genius, one of his contemporaries, who knew him perfectly, thus describes the character of the all-accomplished St. John.
It happens to very few men in any age or country, to come into the world with so many advantages of nature and fortune,
as the late secretary Bolingbroke. Descended from the best families in England; heir to a great patrimonial estate; of a sound constitution, and a most graceful person: all these, had they been of equal value, were infinitely below, in degree, to the accomplishments of his mind, which was ADORNED WITH THE CHOICE'st GIFTS THAT GOD HATH YET THOUGHT FIT TO BESTOW UPON THE CHILDREN OF MEN He was blessed with a strong memory; a clear judgment; a vast range of wit and fancy; a thorough comprehension and invincible eloquence, with a most agreeable elocution. He had well cultivated all these talents by travel and study; the latter of which he seldoni omitted even in the midst of his plcasures, of which he had indeed been too great and crimina; a pursuer. For, although he was persuaded to leave off intemperance in wine, which he did for some time to such a degree, that he seemed quite abstemious; yet he was said to allow himself other liberties, which can by no means be recon. ciled to religion or morals. But he was fond of mixing pleasure and business, and of being esteemed excellent at both; upon which account he had a great respect for the characters of Alci. biades and Petronius, especially the latter, whom he would gladly be thought to resemble. His detractors charged him with some degree of affectation, and, perhaps, not altogether without grounds: since it was hardly possible for a young man with half the business of the nation upon him, and the applause of the whole, to escape that infirmity. He had been early bred to business; was a most artful negociator, and perfectly understood foreign affairs. But what I have often wondered at, in a man of his temper, was his prodigious application, whenever he thought it necessary; for he would plod whole days and nights like the lowest clerk in an office. His talent of speaking in public, for which he was so very much celebrated, I know nothing of, except from the information of others; but men of understanding, of both parties, have assured me, that, in this point, in their memory and judgment, he was never equalled.
VARIETY.-FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
: Zeno rejoiced that a shipwreck had thrown him on the Athenian coast, and he owed to the loss of his fortune the acquisition which he made of virtue, of wisdom, of immortality.
An account of three singular characters. Among the company I found at Harrowgate, were six Irish gentlemen, who had been my contemporaries in Trinity College at Dublin, and were right glad to see me, as we had been Sociorums,* a word of Swift's, at the convivial house at Ring's-end, for many á summer's evening, and their regard for me was great. They thought I had long been numbered with the dead, as they could not get any account of me, for so many years, and when they saw me at their entering the public room, sitting by a beauty, in deep discourse, G-d zounds, says one of them, there he is, making love to the finest woman in the world. These gentlemen were, Mr. Gollogher,' Mr. Gailaspy, Mr. Dunkley, Mr. Makins, Mr. Monaghan, and Mr. O'Keefe, descended from the Irish kings, and first cousin to the great OʻKeefe, who was buried not long ago in Westminster abbey. They were all men of large fortunes, and, Mr. Makins excepted, were as handsome fine feilows, as couid be picked out in all the world. Makins was a very low thin man, nou four feet high, and had but one eye, with which he squinted most shockingly. He wore his own hair, which was short and bad, and only drest by his combing it himself in the morning without oil or powder. But as he was matchless on the fiddle, sung well, and chatted agreeably, he was a favourite with the ladies. They preferred ugly Makins (as he was called), to many handsome men. I will here give the public the character of these Irish gentlemen for the honour of Ireland, and as they were curiosities of the human kind.
O‘Keefe was as distinguished a character as I have ever known. He had read and thought, travelled and conversed, was a man of sense, and a scholar; he had a greatness of soul which shewed a preeminence of dignity, and by conduct and behaviour,
* A term equivalent to boon companions.
the faithful interpreters of the heart, always attested the most noble and generous sentiments. He had an extreme abhorrence of meanness of all kinds, treachery, revenge, envy, littleness of mind, and showed in all his actions the qualities that adorn a man. His learning was of the genteel and useful kind, a sort of agreeable knowledge which he acquired rather from a sound taste and good judgment, than from the books he read. He had a right estimation of things, and had gathered up almost every thing that is amusing or instructive. This rendered him a master in the art of pleasing, and as he had added to these improvements, the fashionable ornaments of life, languages and bodily exercises, he was the delight of all who knew him.
Makins was possessed of all the excellent qualities and perfections that are within the reach of human abilities. He had received from nature the happiest talents, and he made singular improvements of them by a successful application of them to the most useful and the most ornamental studies. Music, as before observed, he excelled in; his intellectual faculties were fine, and, to his honour, I can affirm, that he mostly employed them as he did his great estate. Though he was but five and twenty, he was a religious man; but his religion was without any melancholy; nor had it any thing of that severity of temper, which diffuses too often into the hearts of the religious, a morose contempt of the world, and an antipathy to its pleasures.
Gallaspy was the tallest and strongest man I have ever seen; well made and very handsome; he had wit and abilities, sung well, and talked with great sweetness and fluency, but was so extremely wicked that it were better for him if he had been a natural fool. By his vast strength and activity, his riches and eloquence, few things could withstand him. He was the most profane swearer I have ever known; fought every thing, w od every thing, and drank seven in the hand; that is, seven glasses, so placed between the fingers of his right hand, that, in drinking, the liquor falls into the next glasses, and thereby he drank out of the first glass seven glasses at once. This was a common thing I find from a book in my possession, in the reign of Charles II. in the madness that followed the restoration of that profligate prince. But this gentleman was the only man I ever
saw who could or would attempt to do it; and he made but one gulp of whatever he drank:-he did not swallow a fluid like other people, but if it was a quart, poured it in as from pitcher to pitcher. When he smoked tobacco, he always blew two pipes at once; one at each corner of his mouth, and threw the smoke of both out of his nostrils. He had killed two men in duels before I left Ireland, and would have been hanged, but that it was his good fortune to be tried before a judge who never let any man suffer for killing another in this manner. He seduced all the women he could, and to many, whom he could not corrupt, offered violence. In sum, I never saw his equal in impiety, especially when inflamed by liquor, as he was every day of his life, though it was not in the power of wine to make him drunk, weak, or senseless. He set no bounds or restrictions to mirth and revels. He only slept every third night, and that, often in his clothes in a chair, where he would sweat so prodigiously, as to be wet quite through; as wet as if come from a pond, or à pail of water had been thrown on him. While all the world was at rest, he was either drinking or dancing, scouring the baudy-houses, or riding as hard as he could drive his horse on some iniquitous project. Yet he never was sick, nor did he ever receive any hurt or mischief. In health, joy, and plenty, he passed life away, and died without a pang, about a year ago, at his house in the county of Galway. This was Jack Gallaspy. There are, howéver, some things to be said in his favour, and as he had more regard for me than for any of his acquaintance, I should be ungrateful, if I did not do him all the justice in my power.
He who considers merely himself—who cultivates his talents only for personal advancement, is little fitted to deserve the rewards of literary fame. The laurel of the Muses is, in worldly gains, indeed, but a barren laurel. But is there nothing in the possession of a cultivated understanding? Is there no delight in that mental superiority which is so far above titles, and wealth, and power? Is there no remuneration in the pleasures of composition and the exercises of the powers of the mind?
A certain celebrated physician, now no more, took up his lodgings in an inn for the night. Being somewhat indisposed