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and placed him in his own, that of moral philosophy, and hence a degree of languor is experienced by the reader.' The above remarks on the most celebrated of Dr. Beattie's works I have transcribed from the seventh volume of Campbell's British Poets. They convey the sentiments of one of the best poets of the present age, on one of the brightest ornaments of the last.
At the request of several of his friends, Dr. Beattie was induced, in the year 1776, to prepare for the press a new edi cion of the 'Essay on Truth,' to which he added several original Essays. This work was splendidly printed in quarto, and published by subscription entirely for his own benefit. The price was a guinea, and the list of subscribers, which amounted to four hundred and seventy-six, was en. riched with the titles of many persons of the highest rank in the kingdom, and with the names of all the most distinguished literary characters of the time. The number of copies sub. scribed for amounted to seven hundred and thirtytwo. The receipts must therefore have been considerable, and to Beattie a'very beneficial supply, who was by no means in affluentcircumstances, his pension being only two hundred a-year, and his professorship never being equal to that sum.
On his return to Scotland it was proposed that he should be removed to some situation in the University of Edin. burgh; but he had then many personal enemies,—the zealous friends of Hume, whom he was accused of having too severely treated in his writings; and he preferred the kindness of his old friends, and the quiet of Aberdeen, to a more lucrative and conspicuous appointment in the metropolitan university.-In the same generous disregard of temporali. ties he declined entering holy orders, and accepting a liv. ing in the church of England, which had been offered to him through Dr. Porteus, on the part of the Bishop of Winchester. He thought that by continuing a layman, and refusing the emoluments that might accrue to him from his writings in the cause of religion, his argument would have a more powerful influence on the minds of his readers ; than if he had become a clergyman, and thus, as it were, appeared as a retained advocate, rather than the voluntary and unpur. chased assertor of the truth.
He again appeared before the public as an Author, in 1776, with a volume of' Essays, which was followed by a
second in 1783. Of these works Cowper has delivered an opinion, which, coming from so distinguished an author, it would be unpardonable to omit:- Beattie is the most agreeable and amiable writer I ever met with; the only author I have seen whose critical and philosophical researches are diversified and embellished by a poetical imagination, that makes even the dryest subject, and the leanest, a feast for the epicure in books. He is so much at his ease too, that his own character appears in every page, and, which is very rare, we see not only the writer, but the man; and the man so gentle, so well-tempered, so happy in his religion, and so humane in his philosophy, that it is necessary to love him if one has any sense of what is lovely.'*
In 1786, he printed his . Evidences of the Christian Religion,' and in 1790, and 1793, he completed his literary course by the publication of a work in two volumes, “On the Elements of Moral Science.' These contain in a connected and somewhat enlarged form, the abstract of the lectures which he used to dictate to his scholars.
Such is the literary history of this distinguished man. Successful in all that he undertook, and meriting his success by the diligence of his application, by the variety of his knowledge, and by the virtuous ends to which his talents were applied. From his earliest boyhood to the last stage of life he trod onward in a path of excellence, and of brightening celebrity. His learning obtained for him the respect and admiration of his country, and the invaluable qualities of his heart and temper conciliated the most ardent friendship and affection from those by whom it is a distinction to be known, and an honour to be loved. But though renowned, admired, and loved, his life was the reverse of happy. His sorrows, at the conclusion of his existence, were heavily accumulated upon him; and they struck the heart where it was most keenly and most painfully sensi. tive. His wife, with whom he had lived long and happily, became deranged, and was obliged to be removed from the house of her husband. His eldest son, a youth of the highest promise, and to whom his father was attached with more than a father's love, for he was joined with him in the professorship, and they had become friends and fellow-students, and the associates of each other's labours, died, after a short
# Hayley's Life of Cowper, vol. iii. p. 247.
illness, in the twenty-second year of his age. The unhappy Beattie had scarcely began to revive from the shock of this severe affliction, when the peace of his home was again mournfully interrupted. His sole surviving child, at the age of eighteen, when beginning to shew the indications of talent and of virtue, not inferior to those which had so tenderly endeared his elder brother to the affection of bis father, was suddenly cut off. This misfortune seems to have crushed the spirits, and for a time, to have alienated the mind of Beattie. He no longer mingled in the intercourse of society. He gave up all his literary correspondence. He said that he had done with this world, and he acted as if he felt that there was no longer any thing on earth worth living for to him; all the links which bound hine to the enjoyments or the business of this world were snapt, never again to be united. He performed me. chanically the duties of his professorship; but he intermitted all the studies in which he had previously occupied himself. Sometimes, indeed, he appeared to struggle for fortitude; and strove to console the agony of his afflictions by the recollection of the severer fate from which his children had been delivered. As he thought on the hereditary disease by which their mother was afflicted, he would endeavour to tranquillize his mind by reflecting on the grievous intellec. tual malady from which death had saved them; and exclaim • How could I have borne to see those elegant minds mangled with madness.'
Beattie was struck with palsy ip 1799, and after repeated attacks of the same disease, died in 1803.
THE PROGRESS OF GENIUS.
The design was, to trace the progress of a poetical genius, born in a rude age, from the first dawning of fancy and reason, till that period at which he may be supposed capable of appearing in the world as a Minstrel, that is, as an itinerant poet and musician ;-acharacter which, according to the notions of our forefathers, was not only respectable, but sacred.
I have endeavoured to imitate Spenser in the measure of his verse, and in the harmony, simplicity, and variety of his composition. Antique expressions I have avoided ; admitting, however, some old words, where they seemed to suit the subject; but I hope none will be found that are now obsolete, or in any degree not intelligible to a reader of English poetry.
To those who may be disposed to ask what could induce me to write in so difficult a measure, I can only answer, that it pleases my ear, and seems, from its gothic structure and original, to bear some relation to the subject and spirit of the poem. It admits both simplicity and magnificence of sound and of language, beyond any other stanza that I am acquainted with. It allows the sententiousness of the couplet, as well as the more complex modulation of blank Verse. What some critics have remarked, of its uniformity growing at last tiresome to the ear, will be found to hold true only when the poetry is faulty in other respects.
AH! who can tell how hard it is to climb