1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Russell

Peter L. Courtier, in Lyre of Love (1806) 2:71-72.



The Rev. Thomas Russell, born at Bridport in Dorsetshire, about the year 1762, was the son of an eminent attorney of that place. Having imbibed the rudiments of education at a Grammar-school in his native county, he was removed to Winchester, under the mastership of the late Doctor Warton, to whom his poems were afterwards inscribed. In 1780, he was elected Fellow of New College, Oxford. While rising rapidly into distinction, for the extent and solidity of his literary acquisitions, he found himself at once interrupted by an illness, that terminated in a consumption of the lungs. He died at Bristol, whither he had resorted for the renovation of his health, July 31, 1788, in his twenty-sixth year. That he had often feelingly anticipated his melancholy fate, is evinced in the following Sonnet

Once more return'd to curl the dimpling lake,
Auspicious Zephyr waves his downy wing;
Rous'd at his touch, the slumbering flowers awake
With all the smiling family of Spring:
Again is heard the turtle's amorous tale,
Again the swallow twitters o'er her nest,
Again wild music melts in every vale,
And love, rekindling, glows in every breast:
Thus they return, — But, ah! to me no more
Return the pleasures of the vernal plain,
In vain for me resounds the vocal shore,
And woods renew their verdant robes in vain;
Nor counsel sweet of Friends can ease my care,
Nor even the sweeter converse of the Fair!

His resignation of DELIA excites the strongest emotions of sympathy, when the circumstances of the lover are considered. A young and amiable man, fondly devoted to her charms, yet secretly impressed with the painful conviction, that he was shortly to be snatched for ever from her embraces; that, though her idea was inseparable from his mind, and the possession of her the dearest wish of his heart, he was, in the midst of life and hope, on the verge of that world — where "there is neither married nor given in marriage!"