Imagens das páginas

and entered a gentleman-commoner of Broadgate Hall, afterwards called Pembroke College, Oxford. After he had taken his Master of Arts degree, he turned his studies to physic, and first began, rather prematurely, as it would appear, to practise his profession in Oxfordshire. Shortly after he went to Ireland, and thence abroad. To complete his medical education, he prosecuted his studies at Montpellier and Padua, and after some stay at these famous schools, returned home by way of Holland, and was created Doctor of Physic at the University of Leyden. Browne returned to London about the year 1634, and the next year is supposed to have written the celebrated treatise "Religio Medici," a work which was no sooner published than it excited attention in an extraordinary degree. It first came out, as it was said, surreptitiously, in itself a circumstance calculated to recommend it to notice; but, besides this, it was distinguished by much learning, great subtlety, and exuberant imagination, and written in the strongest and most forcible language. Dr Browne settled, in 1636, at Norwich, where his practice soon became very extensive, many patients resorting to him for advice; and in 1637, he was incorporated Doctor of Physic in the University of Oxford. A few years after, he married Mrs Mileham, of a good family in the county, "a lady," as she is described, "of such symmetrical proportion to her worthy husband, both in the graces of her body and mind, that they seemed to come together by a kind of natural magnetism." In 1646, his work entitled "Enquiries into Vulgar and Common Errors" appeared. In 1658, the discovery of some ancient urns in Norfolk gave him occasion to write "A Discourse on Sepulchral Urns," in which he treats, with his isual learning, on the funeral rites of the ancient nations, exhibits their various treatment of the dead, and examines the substances found in the urns liscovered in Norfolk. There is, perhaps, none of his works which better exemplifies his reading or memory. In 1671, Browne received the honour of knighthood from Charles II. at Norwich, where he continued to live in high reputation, till, in his seventy-sixth year, he was seized with a colic, which, after having tortured him about a week, put an end to his life, October 19, 1682. On his monument, in the church of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich, is the following inscription:

"Near the Foot of this Pillar Lies Sir THOMAS BROWNE, Kt. and Doctor in Physick, Author of Religio Medici, and other Learned Books, Who practic'd Physick in this city 46 years, And died Oct. 1682, in the 77 year of his Age, In Memory of whom Dame Dorothy Browne, who had bin his Affectionate Wife 41 Years, caused this Monument, to be Erected."

CARLYLE, THOMAS, one of the most original of all our modern essayists, and one whose

influence has been co-extensive with the diffusion of our literature, was born at Ecclefechan, in Dumfriesshire, on the 4th December 1795. The intelligence of his father, who was a small farmer, and the piety and strong common sense of his mother, are on record. He attended first the parish school of Ecclefechan, and afterwards that of Annan, where he met Edward Irving, when a strong friendship sprang up between them. In 1809, when about fourteen years of age, he came to study at the Edinburgh University. His habits at this time are said to have been lonely and contemplative, and his reading in all kinds of literature assiduous and extensive. He distinguished himself in the mathematical class, and succeeded in gaining the friendship of Professor John Leslie, which we find was shortly afterwards useful to him, in his appointment to a tutorship at Kirkcaldy. Previous to this appointment he taught for two years in the burgh school of Annan. In 1818 he returned to Edinburgh, became a contributor to the "Edinburgh Encyclopædia," and also made a translation of “Legendre's Geometry." In 1823 he acted as ti cor to Charles Buller. He published a translation of Goethe's "Wilhelm Meister" in 1824. His "Life of Schiller" appeared in the London Magazine (1823-24), at that time counting among its contributors Lamb, Hazlitt, De Quincey, and Allan Cunningham. In 1826 he married an only daughter of Dr Welsh of lladdington: on the father's side the Welshes were lineal descendants of John Knox. From the year of his marriage in 1826, till 1834, he resided it Craigenputtoch, a retired farm-house about fifteen miles from Dumfries. In 1834 he removed to London, settling at Chelsea, where he resided till his death in 1881. "Sartor Resartus," written at Craigenputtoch, appeared by instalments in Fraser's Magazine, after numerous rejections. His "History of the French Revolution" was published in 1837. In the same year he delivered a course of lectures on "German Literature," in Willis's Rooms, London; in 1839 he lectured on the "Revolutions of Modern Europe," and in 1840 on "Hero-Worship." This was his last public appearance in this capacity, with the exception of his rectorial address to he Edinburgh students in 1866, a description of which interesting occasion, by Alexander Smith, is given in this volume. Mr Carlyle's other works "Past and Present," "Letters an 1 Speeches of Oliver Cromwell," "Latter-day Pamphlets," "Life of John Sterling," "History of Frederick II.," "Early Kings of Norway," also an essay on the "Portraits of John Knox." On the occasion of Mr Carlyle's eightieth birthday, he was presented by a numerous circle of literary friends and admirers, with a gold nedal and an address, signed by various friends and wellwishers. The publication of Carlyle's essays marked a new era in biographical portraiture, and his papers on Samuel Johnson and Robert


Burns have been extolleu 28 masterpieces in this difficult art.

COWLEY, ABRAHAM, better known as a poet than as an essayist, was born in London in 1618. Losing his father at an early age, he was COLERIDGE, SAMUEL TAYLOK, the youngest left to the care of his mother. In the window of of a numerous family, was born at Ottery St their apartment lay Spenser's "Faerie Queen," Mary, in Devonshire, on the 21st October 1772. in which he very early took delight to read, till, He received his early education at Christ's Hos- by feeling the charms of verse, he became, as he pital, where Charles Lamb was one of his school-relates, irrecoverably a poet. "Such," says Dr fellows. His early love of poetry was nursed Johnson, "are accidents which, sometimes reand inspired by a perusal of the sonnets of W. me.ubered, and perhaps sometimes forgotten, L. Bowles. When nineteen years of age, on prodice that particular designation of mind, obtaining his presentation from Christ's Hos- and propensity for some certain science or empital, he entered Jesus College, Cambridge, gain- ployment, which is commonly called genius." ing in classics a gold medal for a Greek ode. Cowley might be said to "lisp in numbers," and About 1794 his acquaintance began with Southey; gave such early proofs, not only of powers of Coleridge and Southey were afterwards married language, but of comprehension of things, as to on the same day to two sisters, and settled at more tardy minds seem scarcely credible. When Nether Stowey, in Somersetshire, where they only in his thirteenth year, a volume of his also met Wordsworth. An account of this poems was printed, containing, with other meeting, by Hazlitt, will be found on p. 249. poetical compositions, "The Tragical History Some of Coleridge's finest pieces were written of Pyramus and Thisbe," written when he was there, such as the "Ancient Mariner," the "Ode ten years old, and "Constantia and Philetus," on the Departing Year," and the first part of written two years after; and while still at school, "Christabel." Coleridge visited Germany he produced a comedy of a pastoral kind, called through the liberality of the Messrs Wedgwood, "Love's Riddle," though it was not published the Staffordshire potters, and on returning in till he had been some time at Cambridge. At 1800 went to reside with Southey at Keswick, the time of his death, in 1667, Cowley certainly Wordsworth then staying at Grasmere. In 1804 ranked as the first poet in England, though the he visited Malta. In the latter part of his life "Comus" of Milton and some of his exquisite he resided with his friend and medical adviser, minor poems had been published nearly thirty Mr Gillman, at Highgate, delighting a large years before. The taste for his poetry has how circle by his splendid conversational powers. changed with the fashion of the times, but his Here he died on the 20th of July 1834, in the prose is a very different thing. It is clear, sixty-second year of his age. The plan of the manly, and forcible. A comparison has someperiodical publication the Friend, occurred to times been instituted between him and ShenColeridge while staying at Keswick, the first stone, but Cowley in the end stands out as the number of which appeared on the 8th of June greater of the two. Dr Johnson's note given 1809, and the last on the 15th of March 1810. on p. 58 gives a fair idea of his power as an As a philosopher and theologian, the influence essayist. of Coleridge has been very great, and probably is so still, notwithstanding the apparent predominance of a less spiritual philosophy than his. Although he did not live to complete the grand system of religious philosophy which he appears to have projected, the massive fragments he has left suffice to show more than the outlines of the vast whole. His writings are pervaded by a spirit not of this world; and for every earnest student they are rich in lessons of truth, wisdom, and faith.

COOPER, ANTHONY ASHLEY, third Earl of Shaftesbury, born in 1671, after a liberal education, and some foreign travel, was elected Member of Parliament for Poole in 1693. His conduct in Parliament was an honourable and earnest support of every measure which tended towards the public good. Owing to the delicacy of his health, he retired from public business in 1698, and resided chiefly abroad. His principal work, from which the selection in this volume is taken, is entitled "Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, and Times." He died in 1713.

COWPER, WILLIAM, was born at Berkhampstead in 1731, and was educated at a country school, and afterwards at Westminster. From his childhood he possessed a heart of the most exquisite tenderness and sensibility. His life was ennobled by many private acts of beneficence; and his exemplary virtue was such, that the opulent sometimes delighted to make him their almoner. In his sequestered life at Olney, he administered abundantly to the wants of the poor; and before he quitted St Alban's, he took upon himself the charge of a necessitous child, in order to extricate him from the perils of being educated by very profligate parents. Cowper's great work was "The Task," which appeared in 1784, a poem which, as Hazlitt well remarks, contains "a number of pictures of domestic comfort and social refinement, which can hardly be forgotten but with the language itself." Cowper's claim to rank as an essayist rests on his contributions to the Connoisseur, a weekly miscellany commenced by George Colman and Bonnel Thornton. How easily he might have excelled in this kind

of writing may be seen from his letters, and from these occasional contributions already mentioned. The essay entitled "Conversation" he afterwards expanded into the delightful poem bearing the same title. The Connoisseur lasted from January 1754 to September 1756, and was succeeded by Johnson's Idler. Cowper died at East Dereham, in Norfolk, on the 25th of April 1800.

speculative papers, political economy, fantasies or prose poems, theological essays, literary history, rhetoric, historical and critical essays, and many others. As a political economist he took a high place. In appearance he was a small, attenuated-looking man, with large, piercing eyes, and a face carved with lines of intense thought and suffering., He was very absentminded, and very careless in his attire, often dressed in a coat two or three sizes too large for

FOSTER, REV. JOHN, was the son of a farmer, residing between Wainwright and Hebden Bridge, Halifax, Yorkshire. There Foster was born, September 17, 1770. While a youth, he worked at the loom, and in his seventeenth year, through the patronage of the Rev. Dr Fawcett, Baptist minister of Hebden Bridge, he was entered as a student of the Baptist College, Bristol, in 1791. On the completion of his studies in 1797 he accepted the charge of a congregation at Chichester, Sussex, which he held for two years and a half. In 1804 he became minister of Frome, in Somersetshire, but a morbid state of the thyroid gland unfitted him from preaching with effect, and he resigned his charge in 1806. From this time till July 1839, he became a regular contributor to the Eclectic Review, writing in all about 185 articles, fifty of which were selected and published in a separate form in 1844. In 1817 he had accepted a charge at Downend, near Bristol, but his preaching proving unacceptable to his congregation he resigned, and for the remainder of his life resided at Stapleton, near Bristol, chiefly engaged in literary work. There he died, October 15, 1843. His "Essays" have gone through more than twenty editions, and still continue to be popular. His excellent taste, clear and comprehensive intellect, rendered him an admirable essayist. His "Essays," in the form of letters, published in 1805, were really addressed to the lady who soon afterwards became his wife.

DE QUINCEY, THOMAS, was born on the him, trousers that barely reached the tops of his 15th of August 1785 at "The Farm," a country-shoes, and a hat that almost fell over his eyes; house near Manchester. His parents were people yet, as Professor Wilson said of him, "a person in the middle walk of life, cultured and intelli- of the highest intellectual and imaginative gent. He had an elder brother and several powers; a metaphysician, a logician, and a polisisters. His early youth was passed amid the tical economist of the first order; a profound most delightful surroundings, and he writes, in and comprehensive scholar, a perfect gentleman, . after-life, "Were I to return thanks to Provi- and one of the best of men." dence for all the separate blessings of my early situation, I would single out these four as worthy of special commemoration: That I lived in a rustic solitude; that this solitude was in England; that my infant feelings were moulded by the gentlest of sisters; finally, that I and they were dutiful and loving members of a pure, holy, and magnificent Church."" He was a small, sensitive child; a dreamer, always musing, imaginative, revelling almost from infancy in a world of his own creation, and he grew up to manhood with his whole character coloured by the solitary dream-life he had led. At school he was an apt scholar, particularly proficient in Latin. At the age of fifteen he set out with a friend and schoolmate-Lord Westford-for a visit to Ireland, where the latter lived. He passed several months at the residence of Lord Altamount, afterwards the Marquis of Sligo, Lord Westport's father, in the county of Mayo. He soon grew tired of school, and we next meet with him in London. He had already begun the pernicious habit of opium eating. By and by he indulged in it for the sake of the pleasure it gave him, and for the purpose, he says, of keeping his "moral affections in a state of cloudless serenity and high over all the great light of this majestic intellect." He attended the University at Oxford, and soon after he left college he went to live in the Lake country, where he lived for twenty years. In 1816 he married, and in 1821 he created his first sensation by the publication of the "Opium Eater." In 1809 he had become acquainted with Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey, and this was the commencement of a life-long friendship. In 1829 he quitted Grasmere, and from that time resided mostly in Glasgow and Edinburgh, until his death in the last-named place, December 8, 1859, at the age of seventy-four. De Quincey was a wonderful talker. His talk was brilliant and full of learning; his memory was tenacious; his discourse sparkled with anecdote, and yet was utterly devoid of pedantry. His writings embrace A variety of subjects — biographical sketches,

FULLER, THOMAS.—A conspicuous place in the prose literature of our language is due to the historian, divine, and essayist, Thomas Fuller. He was born at Aldwinkle, Northamptonshire, in 1608, and educated at Queen's College, Cambridge. The works of Fuller are very numerous, the chief of them being the following: "A History of the Worthies of England," one of the earliest biographical works in the language, a strange mixture of topography, biography, and popular antiquities; "The Holy and Profane State," "The History of the Holy War," and

"The Church History of Britain." The present examples of his powers as an essayist are given from "The Holy and Profane State." Fuller was an extraordinary man. If there was an amusing writer in this world, he was one. There was in him a combination of those qualities which minister to our entertainment, such as few have ever possessed in an equal degree. He was, first of all, a man of multifarious reading; of great and undigested knowledge, which an extraordinary retentiveness of memory preserved ever ready for use, and considerable accuracy of judgment enabled him successfully to apply. "Next to Shakespeare," says Coleridge, "I am not certain whether Thomas Fuller, beyond all other writers, does not excite in me the sense and emotion of the marvellous: the degree in which any given faculty or combination of faculties is possessed and manifested, so far surpassing what one would have thought possible in a single mind, as to give one's admiration the flavour and quality of wonder! Wit was the stuff and substance of Fuller's intellect. It was the element, the earthen base, the material which he worked in; and this very circumstance has defrauded him of his due praise for the practical wisdom of the thoughts, for the beauty and variety of the truths, into which he shaped the stuff. Fuller was incomparably the most sensible, the least prejudiced great man of an age that boasted a galaxy of great men. He is a very voluminous writer; and yet in all his numerous volumes on so many different subjects, it is scarcely too much to say that you will hardly find a page in which some one sentence out of every three does not deserve to be quoted for itself-as motto or as maxim." Dr Fuller having requested one of his companions to make an epitaph for him, received the following:

"Here lies Fuller's earth."

He returned to dust in 1661.

GOLDSMITH, OLIVER, was born on the 10th of November 1728, at Pallas, a small village in the county of Longford, Ireland. He was the second son of the Rev. Charles Goldsmith, incumbent of the parish, the country parson so lovingly described in "The Deserted Village:"

"A man he was to all the country dear,

And passing rich with forty pounds a year."

Within two years from the birth of Oliver, however, he succeeded his wife's uncle in the rectory of Kilkenny-West, a living worth £200 a year; and took up his abode at Lissoy, in the county of Westmeath. When sixteen years of age, Goldsmith entered Trinity College, Dublin, and in 1749 he took the degree of B. A., and left college. It was then determined, in utter disregard of his manifest unfitness, that he should enter the Church. He applied to the Bishop of Elfin for ordination, arrayed in scarlet breeches; but his

lordship took exception to his scholarship, theology, or morals, and dismissed him. Law was next selected with little better success. Accordingly, another little purse being collected for him, he set out for Edinburgh, then, as now, one of the first medical schools of the world. During the sessions of 1752 and 1753 he studied medicine at Edinburgh. On the pretext, or with the serious intention, of completing his medical studies under the distinguished Albinus of Leyden, he now resolved on going to the Continent. He took ship for Bordeaux-an inexplicable choice for one going to Leydenbut owing to stress of weather it had to put in at Newcastle. Here he and his four fellowpassengers were apprehended as agents of the French Government. This, which might be regarded as a misfortune, saved his life; for the ship, continuing its voyage to Bordeaux, was wrecked at the mouth of the Garonne, and all on board perished. After some delay he was liberated, and sailed direct for Rotterdam, proceeding thence on foot to Leyden. His time and attention during the eighteen months he spent at this university, were divided between the lecture-hall and gambling-table-the fashionable resort of the day, which he had not sufficient power of will to resist. Again reduced to poverty, but too much ashamed to own it, he started on foot for a tour through Europe, with one clean shirt, a flute, and a guinea as provision for his journey. Having trudged through Belgium and France, he arrived at Geneva, where he became tutor to an English youth, whose character seems to have been the very opposite of his own. To the great satisfaction of both, this engagement terminated at Marseilles; and Goldsmith, enriched somewhat by his tutorial fee, travelled onward through the north of Italy. At Padua he resided seven months, and then he directed his steps homeward through France. He arrived in London in February 1756. He was now in his twentyeighth year, with a livelihood to make in a country where his voice and his flute were of no service. On the strength of his B.A. degree, he obtained an ushership in a school, but his B.A. having failed him, he tried what the Paduan doctorate could do. He obtained an assistantship in a laboratory in Fish Street Hill, and afterwards commenced on his own account a medical practice in Southwark. A poor patient, a printer, succeeded in bringing him under the notice of his master, Mr Samuel Richardson, publisher, and author of "Sir Charles Grandison," who employed him as a corrector for the press; and in this humble and fortuitous way Goldsmith entered the service of the muses. For five or six years he led a hand-to-mouth life-in turns, teacher, physician, and literary hack, contributing in turn to the Monthly Magazine, the Bee, Busybody, Lady's Magazine, Public Ledger. The contributions to the Public Ledger

were afterwards published under the title of "The Citizen of the World." All these productions had been anonymous, but he was known as their author among men of letters, and was beginning to be valued by the publishers. He now took handsomer apartments in Wine Office Court, attended coffee-houses and debating clubs, and began to feel that he had gained a footing in literature. His rooms were frequented by not a few men of note, and in the year 1760 they were graced by the presence of the living head of English literature, Dr Johnson. Once introduced, Johnson and Goldsmith became steadfast friends, notwithstanding the manifest contrarieties of their characters. On the 15th December 1764 he published "The Traveller," the first work which bore his name. In 1766, while "The Traveller' was at the height of its popularity, there appeared "The Vicar of Wakefield," which had been in the hands of the publisher for some time. In 1768, "The Good Natured Man," a comedy, was brought out at Covent Garden with success, and "She Stoops to Conquer" was brought out in 1773. Besides a republication of his essays, and ordinary routine work, from which he was never long free, he wrote during the winter 1768-69 a history of Rome, for which he received £300; a history of England, which first appeared in the form of letters from a nobleman to his son, and afterwards in a fuller form in 1771, which brought him £600; a history of Greece, in two volumes, by which he made £250;| and a natural history, in several volumes, for which, although it was not finished till near his death, he had previously received 800 guineas. Towards the close of 1772 he began to feel the first symptoms of failing health. He retired to the country, but again returned to town in the spring of 1774, was attacked by a low nervous fever, from which he died on the 4th April. His sudden and premature death startled the literary world, and struck the closer circle of his acquaintance with deep anguish. Old Dr Johnson felt the blow heavily, but undemonstratively, as was his nature. The more impassioned Burke burst into tears; and Sir Joshua Reynolds was compelled by grief to abandon for the day the labours of his easel. He was buried privately in the Temple burying-ground, on Saturday evening, 9th April 1774.

HAZLITT, WILLIAM, the acute critic and essayist, son of a Unitarian minister of the same name, was born at Maidstone on the 10th of April 1778. When only five years old his father visited America, and for a short time ministered there, and afterwards returning to England, settled down at Wem in Shropshire. When nine years of age he was sent to school at Wem, and gave various indications at this early period of mental precocity and the possession of varied knowledge. In 1793 he was entered as a student t the Unitarian College at Hackney, but pos

sessing no liking for his father's profession, devoted his time to the study of moral and political philosophy. Having early shown a taste for drawing and a love of pictures, he next determined to follow out the profession of a painter, and in 1802 visited Paris for the purpose of studying the paintings in the Louvre. On his return to England this new line of study was soon abandoned. In 1803 he appeared in London and published his essay on the "Principles of Human Action." In 1808 he married a Miss Stoddart, the sister of Dr (afterwards Sir John) Stoddart, when he settled in Wiltshire, and devoted his time and attention to literature. His life was afterwards one course of uninterrupted literary exertion, and his labours brought him in a considerable income had his imprudence not helped to dissipate it. In 1822 he was divorced from his wife, but he married again a second time, two years afterwards. Hazlitt lectured on English philosophy, and on the English poets generally, and contributed to the Morning Chronicle, the Examiner, and the Edinburgh Review, but his literary reputation now chiefly rests on his essays, of which some characteristic specimens are given in the present volume.

HUME, DAVID, was the second son of Joseph Hume, Laird of Ninewells, near Dunse, in Berwickshire. He was born in Edinburgh on the 26th of April 1711. At first designed for the law, but having no liking for that profession, in 1734 he became a clerk in a mercantile house in Bristol. He next went to France, where his "Treatise of Human Nature" was written, and published at London in 1738. It excited little or no hostility or interest on its appearance. In 1742 he published "Essays, Moral and Philosophical." Some of these essays are remarkable for elegance of style and the research which they display. The first portion of his "History of Great Britain" was published in 1754; the remaining volumes followed between 1757 and 1762. In 1766 returning to Scotland, he was prevailed upon to accept the situation of Under Secretary of State, which he held for two years. He retired in easy circumstances, in Edinburgh, where he died on the 25th August 1776.

HUNT, JAMES HENRY LEIGH, was born at Southgate, in Middlesex, October 19, 1784. He was educated at Christ's Hospital, and at the age of fifteen left this school. A collection of poems which he had written between the ages of twelve and sixteen was published by his father in 1802. While in a situation in the War Office, he contributed to various periodicals, writing theatrical criticisms and literary articles for a newspaper which had been started by his brother, John Hunt, in 1805. He left the War Office in 1808 to become joint-editor and proprietor of the Examiner newspaper. Three different times the Examiner had to stand a

« AnteriorContinuar »