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“ Yet when, at last, thy toils but ill apaid “ Shall dead thy fire and damp it's heavenly spark,
“ Thou wilt be glad to seek the rural shade, “ There to indulge the Muse and nature mark; “ We then a lodge for thee will rear in Hagley Park." Here whilom ligg'd th’ Æsopus of the age ;
But call’d by Fame, in soul ypricked deep, A noble pride restored him to the stage,
And roused him like a giant from his sleep.
Even from his slumbers we advantage reap: With double force th’ enliven'd scene he wakes,
Yet quits not nature's bounds. He knows to keep Each due decorum: now the heart he shakes, And now with well-urged sense th’ enlighten'd judgement takes. A bard here dwelt, more fat than bard beseems,
Who void of envy, guile, and lust of gain, On virtue still and nature's pleasing themes
Pour'd forth his unpremeditated strain.
The world forsaking with a calm disdain,
Here quaff'd, encircled with the joyous train
Of Clerks good plenty here you mote espy.
Was one I chiefly mark’d among the fry:
He had a roguish twinkle in his eye, And shone all glittering with ungodly dew,
If a tight damsel chanced to trippen by; Which when observed, he shrunk into his mew, And straight would recollect his piety anew.'
Lyttelton was now in power, and procured him the place of Surveyor General of the Leeward Islands, from which after his deputy was paid, he received about 300l. per ann. That deputy was his friend Paterson, whose tragedy of • Arminius' had been prohibited by the Lord Chamberlain soon after the puba lication of · Edward and Eléonora,' and who succeeded him shortly afterward as principal.
This was the last work, which he lived to publish ; * his Coriolanus' being only just completed, when a violent fever occasioned by a neglected cold prematurely deprived his country of the author. His death happened August 27, 1748. His executors were Sir George Lyttelton, and Mr. afterward Sir Andrew Mitchel, by whose interest the orphan tragedy was brought forward: and from it's profits, combined with the sale of his manuscripts and other effects, they were enabled not only to liquidate all his debts, but also to remit a handsome surplus to his two surviving sisters Mrs. Jean Thomson and Mrs. Mary Craig:t Lyttelton f supplied the prologue; and Quin, who had long
* It is said, on the authority of Floyer Sydenham, the translator of Plato, that Thomson was the author of a version of the work of the Emperor Marcus Antoninus, published in 8vo. in 1747. (Gent. Mag. lxxxvi. Feb. 1816, p. 104.)
+ Of these, the first died in 1782 without issue; and the latter in 1792 leaving a son, Mr. James Craig, the ingenious architect who drew the plan of the new town of Edinburgh. His other sister, Mrs. Bell, left two children; and a brother, who had followed him to England, and lived with him as his amanuensis, being seized with a consumption returned to Scotland, and died there.
# Lyttelton, who was pardonably ambitious of being transmitted to posterity as the friend of genius, and who had consecrated an urn
Ann. Dom. M DCC XLIV. now inscribed on an a handsome building, called • Thomson's Seat,
lived with Thomson in fond intimacy,* did it 'true justice in the delivery of it. As it contains a vivid sketch of his character, it is here inserted :
. I come not here your candor to implore
GEORGIUS LYTTELTON. * The origin of this friendship is highly honourable to the actor. He is said to have rescued the poet (then known to him only through his productions) from an arrest, by a present of hundred pounds.
Not one immoral, one corrupted thought,
Oh! may to-night your favourable doom
His remains, as some time before his death he occupied a small villa in Kew Lane, were deposited in Richmond Church, under a plain stone, without any inscription; and a decent monument was erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey, in 1762,* out of the profits arising from a splendid edition of his works published by Millar. A tablet also, with a memorial inscription, was placed on the wall in Richmond Church in 1791. The Earl of Buchan likewise, with a view of raising to him a monument on Ednam Hill, collected a large party of gentlemen to celebrate the anniversary of his birthday in the years 1790 and 1791: but his eager enthusiasm, it may be feared, defeated it's own purpose. He has been more successful in the more recent instance of Burns.
* Inscribed with part of his own beautiful address to Philo. sophy, at the conclusion of his "Summer;'
• Tutor’d by thee, sweet Poetry exalts
But his most honourable memorial is to be found in the subjoined threnody of Collins.
Scene, On the Thames near Richmond.
Where slowly winds the stealing wave:
To deck it's Poet's sylvan grave.
His airy harp shall now be laid;
May love through life the soothing shade.
And while it's sounds at distance swell,
To hear the woodland pilgrim's knell.
When Thames in summer-wreaths is drest,
To bid his gentle spirit rest.
To breezy lawn or forest deep,
And 'mid the varied landscape weep.
Ah! what will every dirge avail ?
That mourn beneath the gliding sail?
Shall scorn thy pale shrine glimmering near?
And joy desert the blooming year!
No sedge-crown'd sisters now attend,
Whose cold turf hides the buried friend.
Dun night has veil'd the solemn view :
Meek nature's child, again adieu !