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an amiable and virtuous man, are worthy of much praise, both in their tendency and execution. They insist upon the dignity of human nature, in opposition to what has been termed the "selfish system." It is probable, however, that the modifications of the latter theory by Mr. Gay* and Dr. Hartley +, and which have, in a great measure, silenced the objections which had with great reason been alledged against it, form the nearest approximation toward the truth.
In No 626, our author has given us an essay on Novelty; from our addiction to which he deduces in a most ingenious and pleasing manner, and in a style of superior force and elegance to that employed in his prior papers, a strong proof of man being destined to immortality. "One of the finest pieces," remarks Dr. Johnson, "in the English language, is the paper on Novelty, yet we do not hear it talked of ‡.”
The concluding number of the Spectator is the composition of Mr. Grove, and it is a termination worthy of the work; a more sublime, a
* Vide Gay's Dissertation, "concerning the fundamental Principles of Virtue," which is prefixed to Dr. Law's translation of Archbishop King's Essay "on the Origin of Evil."
+ Vide Hartley's "Observations on Man, his Frame, his Duty, and his Expectations," 2 vols. 8vo.
Boswell's Life of Johnson, vol. iii. p. 32.
more interesting and impressive paper cannot be found in the series to which it belongs. The expansion of the mental faculties in a future state, though it be an idea over which some obscurity must necessarily hang, is too accordant with our wishes, our hopes, and our religion, to be dismissed for any length of time. There is every reason, indeed, to suppose, that the happiness of an immaterial existence will depend upon the perpetual and illimitable progression of intellect; and the paper of Mr. Grove is, in every respect, well calculated to give force and colour to the exhilarating prospect.
9. JOHN BYROM, the younger son of Mr. Edward Byrom, a linen-draper, was born at Kersall, near Manchester, in the year 1691. After the usual grammatical education in his native place, he was sent to Merchant Taylor's School in London, where he distinguished himself by his attention to, and proficiency in, classical literature. So much greater progress indeed had he made than was usual, that, at the age of sixteen, he was thought sufficiently qualified for the University of Cambridge; where, on the 6th of July, 1708, he was admitted a Pensioner of Trinity College.
At this seat of the Muses, Mr. Byrom culti
vated with assiduity a taste for elegant letters, and especially for poetry, to which, even in his earliest years, he had shown a marked propensity. Having taken the usual degrees in Arts, he was, in 1714, elected a Fellow of his College, with the Master of which, the celebrated Dr. Richard Bentley, he had greatly ingratiated himself by the sweetness of his disposition, and the regularity of his conduct.
In the August of the year of his election to the Fellowship, he commenced a writer in the Spectator; and in the October following published in that work his first and best poetical effort, a pastoral under the title of Colin to Phabe. It has been said on good authority, that the Phoebe of this pastoral was Joanna, the daughter of Dr. Bentley, and that it was written, not so much from affection to the daughter, as with the aim of securing the interest of the Doctor in promoting the author's views with regard to the fellowship, for which, at the period of its composition, he was a candidate.
The popularity which this poem has enjoyed for a series of ninety years, must be considered as an indication of no inconsiderable merit; the versification is easy and flowing; and the imagery in the seventh and eighth stanzas may be termed elegantly rural; but there is a fault in.
this piece, which, if it were ever intended for a serious composition, completely destroys the effect. A ludicrous air pervades the whole, arising sometimes from the puerility of the expression, and sometimes from the inanity of the sentiment. Since the publication of the Bath Guide by Anstey, this association may have been rendered stronger by the parody, in that humorous work, of the first two lines of Byrom's poem :
My time, O ye Muses, was happily spent,
My time, my dear mother's, been wretchedly spent,
A serious indisposition induced Mr. Byrom, in 1716, to visit Montpelier; and during his residence upon the continent, he imbibed not only a taste for the philosophical reveries of Malebranche, but became a convert to the wild enthusiasm of Mademoiselle Bourignon; attachments which convey no favourable idea of the strength and solidity of his judgment.
On the recovery of his health, he returned to England, and, as his pecuniary circumstances were not such as to support him in an independent style, he adopted the resolution of practising in London as a physician; a scheme which, al
though soon laid aside, and he took no degree in medicine, procured for him, through life, the appellation of Doctor.
It was the seducing passion of love which annihilated his professional views; for, shortly after he had settled in town, the two daughters of his uncle, Mr. Joseph Byrom, of Manchester, visited London upon some business of their father's, and our poet became ardently attached to the younger of the sisters, Miss Elizabeth Byrom. He immediately avowed his affection, and, following her on her return to Manchester, so assiduously prosecuted his suit, that, notwithstanding the opposition of her parents, who, on account of Mr. Byrom's narrow circumstances, were averse to the connection, he obtained her hand. The conduct of his uncle, who was in very opulent circumstances, and who might, without inconvenience to himself, have placed them at ease with regard to fortune, was such, however, as is but too often experienced from men who place no value upon any thing but the accumulation of money. Regardless of the worth and accomplishments of his son-in-law, he refused to give him any support; and Mr. Byrom, having soon exhausted what little property he possessed, was compelled to seek subsistence from the exertion of an art which he had cultivated during his re