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to feel: and facts, regarding men of genius, are valuable in enabling us to contemplate how far the gifts of high intellect contribute to our happiness, or afford guides for the rest of mankind; in what respects they have the possessors upon an equality with the herd of the people; and where they expose them to temptations from which others are free. For these purposes the ill fated Collins is a melancholy illustration : the Muse had touched the lips of his infancy, and infused her spirit into him ; she had given him a piercing understanding, and an amiable disposition and temper; she enabled him to come forth with poetry of the first class, in the earliest bloom of youth; and to deserve, if not to win, the envied laurel, which millions have reached at in vain! What seeming glories and blessings were these! Yet to how few was so much misery dispensed as to this once envied being! May we not hope that his spirit now has its mighty reward ?
Let it not be denied that there is high virtue in the culture of the mind, when directed to pure and elevated objects, and accustoming itself to travel in lofty paths! The mind cannot attain the necessary refinement, nor have its sight cleared of the film of earthly grossness, unless the heart throws off the dregs of coarser feeling, and keeps its wings afloat on a lighter and airier
atmosphere. It may be said, that there have been bad men who have been great poets :: but this position remains to be proved. The dissolute men who have written verses have not been great poets. Were Dante, Petrarch, Tasso, Spenser, Shakespeare, Dryden, Pope, Thomson, Burns, bad men? We know that Milton's character was great and holy, whatever were his politics : and who could be more virtuous than Gray, Beattie, Cowper, and Kirke White? And have we not virtuous poets among the living,– men whose native splendour and intellectual culture have almost purified them into spirits ? Let us never cease to meditate on the dejected inspiration, which could pour forth such strains as
“ With eyes upraised, as one inspired,
In notes by distance made more sweet,
And, dashing soft from rocks around,
Bubbling tunnels join’d the sound;
Or o'er some haunted stream with fond delay,
There are those who will think the praises thus bestowed upon Collins extravagant.
It is now sixty years since I became familiar with him ; and I still think of him with unabated admira
When the calm judgment of age confirms the passion of youth and boyhood, we cannot be much mistaken in the merit we ascribe to him who is the object of it.
S. E. B.
WRITTEN ORIGINALLY FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT
OF THE LADIES OF TAURIS.
AND NOW TRANSLATED.
Ubi primus equis Oriens adflavit anhelis.
The First Edition was entitled, “ Persian Eclogues, written originally for the Entertainment of the Ladies of Tauris. And now first translated, &c.
Quod si non hic tantas fractus ostenderetur, et si ex his studiis delectatis sola peteretur; tamen, ut opinor, hanc animi remissionem humanissimam ac liberalissi. mam judicaretis.
Cic. pro Arch. Poeta.”