The father of JOHN LANGHORNE was the Reverend Joseph Langhorne, of Winton, in the county of Westmoreland, who held a benefice in Lincolnshire. John Langhorne was born at Kirkby Stephen, in the month of March, 1735, and, when only four years of age, he had the misfortune to lose his father. This loss was, however, rendered lighter by the tender and judicious care of his mother, who "nursed his infant thought, and taught his mind to grow," with a perseverance and success which deserved and gained his warmest affection. He deplored her death, in a Monody, which speaks the language of the heart, and subsequently raised a monument to her memory, on which he inscribed the following emphatic testimony to her maternal virtues:
Her, who to teach this trembling hand to write,
Toil'd the long day, and watch'd the tedious night,
I mourn, though number'd with the heavenly host;
With her the means of gratitude are lost.
At the proper age he was sent to a school at Winton, whence he removed to another at Appleby. His progress was rapid; for, to strong native talent he joined unusual closeness of application. He not merely performed, with cheerfulness and facility, the usual school tasks, but also imposed on himself exercises, which he submitted to the revisal of his preceptor, Mr. Yates. It is not often that boys undertake works of supererogation; and we, therefore, cannot be surprised that Mr. Yates should have been partial to so extraordinary a pupil. At the age of thirteen, Langhorne is said to have been able to read and to construe the Testament in Greek.
It is probable that Langhorne participated but little in the boisterous sports of his companions, and that a part of the time which he thus saved was devoted to mental improvement. His chief amusement was derived from contemplating the beauties of nature, in the romantic county which gave him birth. From his childhood he was so fond of retirement that often, when very young, he walked two miles from home to indulge his musings in a shady and solitary spot. To his early and lonely wanderings among the wild scenery of Westmoreland he, in his poems, more than once alludes with evident delight.
Placed amidst objects calculated, by their beauty and their grandeur, to produce a powerful effect on the mind, his poetical faculties were early awakened. It has been supposed that he did not begin to write verse till his removal into Yorkshire. This, however, is a mistake, which might have been avoided by a perusal of his poems. He himself tells us that he first courted the Muse on the banks of the Eden; and, as he speaks of his "infant mind," and "infant lyre," it may be presumed that he was very young when the courtship began. A clergyman, of the name of Lamb, was the person who stimulated him to exertion, and formed his taste; and Langhorne has, in consequence, commemorated him, in a few stanzas, which, if not excellent, have at least the merit of expressing warmly the feelings of affection and gratitude.
At the age of eighteen, by which time he was become an accomplished classical scholar, Langhorne quitted the school at Appleby. The want of pecuniary resources prevented him from continuing his studies at the University, and likewise rendered it necessary for him to draw from his talents and acquirements the means of subsistence. He accordingly engaged himself as a private tutor in a family which resided near Ripon. While thus occupied, ho amused his leisure with the composition of verse. Many of the poems which he composed at this period he afterwards destroyed; some were preserved in The Grand Magazine, a periodical work published by Mr. Ralph Griffith, which was dropped at the expiration of three years. Among the poems which he then produced was Studley Park, in praise of a domain of that name, sometimes called Studley Royal, situated in the vicinity of Ripon. It is said to have been written with the view of obtaining patronage from the owner of the spot which he celebrated; and that his expectations were disappointed. That, for some reason or other, he consigned it to oblivion is certain; but it has since been admitted into the collection of his works, and it is not undeserving of a place. The versification is musical, and the description is often picturesque and spirited. If it be true that his hopes of finding a patron were frustrated, we may suppose that he remembered the circumstance resentfully; for there seems to be, in his Hymn to Plutus, a bitter allusion to the former or present possessor of Studley Royal.
From Ripon he removed to Wakefield, where ho acted as assistant at the free school, of which Mr. Clarke was then at the head. While employed there he took deacon's orders, and acquired popularity as a preacher. His conduct in the school must have been praiseworthy; as, in 1759, Mr. Clarke recommended him to Robert Cracroft, Esq. of Hackthorne, about seven miles from Lincoln, to educate the nine sons of that gentleman. Numerous as this family was, Langhorne also undertook the tuition of Mr. Edmund Cartwright, who had been brought up at Wakefield. This may be considered as a sufficient proof that he did not shrink from toil. Mr. Cartwright, who has since made himself honourably known, in the dissimilar pursuits of poetry and mechanics, remained a twelvemonth under his care, and was then sent to Oxford.
There is no proof that any of Langhorne's poems were given separately to the public before 1759, in which year be published his translation of the death of Adonis. It was followed, early in 1760, by The Tears of Music, a poem to the memory of Mr. Handel, with an Ode to the River Eden. Yet, in their mention of the latter work, the Critical Reviewers declared that they had "had frequent opportunities of doing justice to Mr. Langhorne's merit on former occasions." If their assertion be correct, the productions to which they allude must have appeared anonymously, and they were never afterwards claimed by him.
By his version from the Greek of Bion he gained more reputation as a classical scholar than as a poet. It is, however, by no means contemptible as a poem. Somewhat higher praise may, perhaps, be allowed to his tribute to the genius of Handel. The Ode to the River Eden was, he observed, "added only by way of ballast;" but it is a pleasing composition.
In the year 1760 he was busily occupied in various ways. For the purpose of taking the degree of batchelor of divinity he entered his name at Clare-hall, Cambridge; but, as his name is not to be found among the Cambridge graduates, it is supposed that he was unsuccessful. Two works, besides The Tears of Music, likewise proceeded from his pen. One of these bears powerful testimony to the benevolence of his heart. He collected his poems into a volume, the profits of which he applied to the relief of a gentleman who had fallen into poverty. "If (said he, in his preface), any one into whose hands this work may fall, should be dissatisfied with his purchase, let him remember that they are published for the relief of a gentleman in distress; and that he has not thrown away five shillings in the purchase of a worthless book, but contributed so much to the assistance of indigent merit. I had rather have my readers feel that pleasure which arises from the sense of having done one virtuous deed, than all they can enjoy from the works of poetry and wit." This volume came from the press at Lincoln. While of Clare-hall, in 1760, he wrote a poem on the king's accession, of which only a fragment is preserved. The few lines which remain, and they are probably a fair specimen of the whole, are, according to immemorial usage, devoted to a prediction of "halcyon days and minutes plumed with gold," a prediction which, can now only excite a sigh for the vanity of human hopes and wishes.
In the following year, still as a member of Clare-hall, he celebrated the royal nuptials, in an Ode, which was first printed among the Cambridge poems, and afterwards in Solyman and Almena. Little can be said in favour of this Hymeneal, except that it flows in smooth verse. It consists of the merest commonplaces of poetry, not rendered tolerable by any peculiar grace of language. The lines are crowded with Aonia's rosy pride, and Hymen, and Jove, and Juno, and old Ocean, and much more of the same hackneyed imagery; and the reader must find it impossible not to yawn before he reaches the conclusion of a piece in the composition of which neither Nature nor Fancy has borne a part.
A circumstance now occurred, which induced Langhorne to relinquish his situation at Hackthorn. The charms, the sweetness of disposition, and the congenial taste, of Miss Anne Cracroft, one of his employer's daughters, had gained possession of his heart. He had assisted her in acquiring the Italian language, and, as he was partial to and a judge of music, she had frequently repaid him by the exercise of her musical powers. A mutual attachment was the consequence of these mutual attentions. Her affection she avowed, but it did not lead her beyond the bounds of prudence. She knew that her family would not consent to an union with a man who had no fortune but his talents, and, therefore, when he pressed her to marriage, she gave a refusal, which, while it was firm enough to put an end to solicitation, was yet tender enough to prevent him from yielding to despair. Doubtful, perhaps, of his ability to conceal his passion, and, perhaps, fearing to increase it by the constant sight of a beloved object, be quitted Hackthorn, and sought relief in distant and busier scenes.
In 1761 we find him acting as curate to the Rev. Abraham Blackburn, of Dagenham. In the village of Dagenham resided the Gillmans, an amiable family, the friendship of which he acquired, and seems always to have highly valued. To Mrs. Gillman, whom he praised in his verses, he some years afterwards bequeathed the care of his infant daughter. It was probably while he lived at Dagenham, that he published his Hymn to Hope, one of the best of his poems. The topics of it are well chosen, and well managed, and the diction is elegant. From the tone in which it is written, we may perceive that he laboured under no serious apprehensions as to the result of his attachment to Miss Cracroft. There is, indeed, nothing of the despairing lover in any of the verses which she inspired. He knew that he was a favoured suitor, and was resigned, if not content, to wait till a more propitious period for the reward of his affection.
The mind of Langhorne was likewise too much occupied, by incessant literary exertion, to indulge in repining and lamentation. In the course of the year 1762, he produced no less than four works, two of which were of considerable magnitude, and all of different styles. These were Solyman and Almena, an eastern tale; Letters on Religions Retirement, Melancholy, and Enthusiasm; Visions of Fancy; and The Viceroy, a poem, in honour of Lord Halifax, who was then lord lieutenant of Ireland.
The tale of Solyman and Almena he was, perhaps, induced to write by the success of Hawkesworth's Almoran and Hamet, which had recently been published. It is, however, not equal to the work of Hawkesworth. It is less oriental, less vigorous, displays less skill both in construction and composition. Yet it may be read with pleasure, and it still holds a place, though a secondary one, among the popular works of fiction.
The Letters on Religious Retirement are addressed to a lady, and were designed to counteract the tendency to enthusiasm, gloominess, and abhorrence of harmless pleasures, which the fanatical doctrines of some methodistical declaimers are calculated to produce. As far as they go, they are not without merit; but they are superficial, and the style has neither simplicity nor strength. Warburton, however, to whom they were dedicated, wrote to their author a complimentary letter, and prompted him to use his pen in the cause of religion.
Like his Studley Park, the poem of The Viceroy is said to have been written in the hope of obtaining a patron; and, like that, it failed of accomplishing his purpose. Lord Halifax was deaf to the flattering accents of the Muse. It would not be difficult to justify his lordship's contemptuous neglect of praise, which was given only with interested views, and which was likewise of small intrinsic worth, as it was graced neither by novelty of idea, nor delicacy of application. What man of sense, unknown too as an orator, could be gratified by being told that he rivaled Demosthenes and Cicero, that the genii and Sylvanus thronged from the groves to hear him, and that Pan threw down his pipe in anger, suspecting him to be Phoebus in disguise? Of this unfortunate poem, when Langhorne collected his works, he preserved but a fragment, in which the name of Halifax is not mentioned. If not merited, the praise, such as it was, ought not to have been given; if merited, it ought not to have been expunged.
The Visions of Fancy were well received by the public, and they deserved to be so; for, undeformed by affectation or pedantry, they speak, in polished numbers; the language of the heart.
Pursuing with increased spirit his literary career, Langhorne, who had espoused the cause of Lord Bute, now ventured to write in praise of Scotland. Churchill's Prophecy of Famine, one of the severest and best of his productions, had recently appeared. To counteract in some degree the effect of that bitterly sarcastical poem, Langhorne, in 1763, published Genius and Valour, a Scotch pastoral, which he boldly inscribed to the Earl of Bute, "as a tribute of respect from an impartial Englishman." In this instance he certainly did not worship the rising sun: the luminary to which he offered his incense was then in the wane; and we may, therefore, believe in the sincerity of the worshiper. Genius and Valour is an elegant and poetical composition; but it was less likely to make converts to big party than enemies, to himself. Churchill, as might be expected, attacked him, briefly indeed, but with his wonted asperity of censure, and poignancy of ridicule. Langhorne, however, did not remain wholly unrewarded for his liberal exertion in behalf of the Scotch. Three years afterwards he received from Dr. Robertson, the historian, who was then principal of the university of Edinburgh, a complimentary letter, with a diploma for the degree of doctor in divinity.
In the same year he published three other works; one in verse, and two in prose. The poem was The Enlargement of the Mind, Epistle I. inscribed to his intimate friend, General Craufurd, at whose seat of Belvidere he passed many of his leisure hours. The second epistle was not printed till the year 1765. The subject is a noble one, and it appears to have animated the writer. In both these epistles there is occasionally a want of connexion, but they have at the same time a loftiness of thought, and an energy and happiness of expression, which atone for this defect. The sentiments are those of a mind warmly benevolent, which can feel hostile to nothing but to meanness and vice. The original edition of the first epistle contained a severe paragraph of personal satire, which the poet subsequently omitted. In the close of the second epistle, the mention of General Craufurd's death is introduced with uncommon skill and effect, and the language is truly pathetic.
Adopting for his groundwork a story in The Spectator, be produced a volume of Letters that passed between Theodosius and Constantia, after she had taken the veil. To this, encouraged by its success, he, in the following year, added the letters of the two lovers, "from their first acquaintance to the departure of Theodosius." This correspondence has been several times reprinted, and it still has admirers. Many of the precepts which it gives are excellent, and the style, though often faulty in point of taste, is, on the whole, not devoid of elegance.
With Mr. Chalmers I agree in opinion, that the Effusions of Friendship and Fancy is a very pleasing miscellany of humour, fancy, and criticism, but that the style is often flippant and irregular. It soon reached a second edition, in which it was much enlarged and improved. In one of the letters Langhorne treats the bulk of mankind with little ceremony. "For my part (says he), I think it sufficient to number among those who are not displeased with my works a few great names; and as to the sightless multitude, I would hot give a fig for its collective praise." Yet no man made more frequent appeals to the public than Langhorne, who seems to have sent to the press every line which dropped from his pen.
In 1764 he became curate and lecturer of St. John's, Clerkenwell, and fixed his residence in the metropolis. He now published two volumes of Sermons, which it must be owned have no claim to be ranked among the models of pulpit eloquence. In a dissertation, by the late Mr. Mainwaring, of St. John's College, Cambridge, they are censured with much severity and justice. They are, indeed, weak in argument, affected in ornament, and vicious in style. The prominent fault of Langhorne's prose style is what may be called its flimsiness; it has no cohesion, no strength; and of this fault his sermons have a more than usual share.
About this time Langhorne, who was now become a highly popular writer, was engaged as a critic in the Monthly Review, by Mr. Griffiths, the proprietor of that work. It is probable that they were already acquainted, Langhorne having six years before been a contributor to the Grand Magazine. How long this new connexion existed is not clearly ascertained. The son of Langhorne, believes it to have continued till the death of his father; while Mr. Chalmers is of opinion that it terminated about the year 1769. The reasons which he assigns for his opinion, though weighty, are, however, not conclusive.
In consequence of his critical occupation, Langhorne became intimate with many literary characters; and he also provoked the inveterate hostility of several authors, by the strain of ridicule in which he is said to have reviewed their productions. Hugh Kelly was among those who imagined themselves to be thus aggrieved; and, in his Thespis, he endeavoured to take vengeance for the injury, by an attack upon Langhorne, of such violence, and even brutality, as could scarcely fail of defeating his purpose. His missiles were flung with a force so intemperate, that they rebounded on the sender. He who complain that truth and justice have been violated in his person, ought, at least, to show that he himself is not disposed to violate them in the person of another. Instead of proving that his supposed enemy was in the wrong, Kelly accused him of being a notorious dunce, an unsuccessful author, and a man whom "whole worlds detested and despised." These were charges which every one knew to be false, and therefore they reflected disgrace only on the person who made them. It is to be regretted that Kelly, who was a man of ability, should have suffered passion to lead him so widely astray.
Besides the second epistle on The Enlargement of the Mind, Langhorne published, in the course of the year 1765, an edition of the poems of Collins, with a memoir and critical remarks, in which he did justice to the talents of his author. Time has fully ratified the warm praise which be bestows on the genius of Collins. His next production was Letters on the Eloquence of the Pulpit, which contain many excellent hints to clergymen, on the subject of composition, elocution and action. In these letters there are passages which may have suggested ideas to Cowper, in his second book of The Task. Langhorne now received some proof that his labours were held in estimation by men of whose good opinion he might reasonably be proud. He was appointed assistant preacher at Lincoln's Inn Chapel, by Dr. Hurd, probably through the recommendation of Warburton, or the Hon. Charles Yorke, to both of whom he was known. From the friendship of the latter had great expectations, which were suddenly destroyed by Mr. Yorke's untimely death, an event by which the feelings of Langhorne are said to have been deeply and permanently affected.
In the following year he relaxed from the labours of original composition, and suffered his mind, as it were, to lie fallow. He was, however, not idle. He gave to the world a new edition of The Effusions of Friendship and Fancy, and collected into two duodecimo volumes his scattered poems. This collection contained little that was new, except The Fatal Prophecy, a dramatic poem. Of this tragedy the scene is laid in Denmark, and the plot is built on the seduction, by Ostan, a Danish chief, of Lena, the wife of Valdemar, the Norwegian monarch. Though it is sometimes poetical, it is radically defective in every thing that constitutes a drama. It was treated with neglect by the public, and the author himself suffered it quietly to drop into oblivion.
Since his leaving Hackthorn, Langhorne had kept up a correspondence with Miss Cracroft, whose attachment to him, like his to her, was undiminished by time and absence. At length he obtained the reward of his affection and constancy. He had now established his name, and earned some of the honours of his profession, and had fair prospects of rising in the world. Perhaps, too, it was considered as an act of cruelty to persist in attempting to eradicate a passion which was so deeply rooted in the breast of Miss Cracroft. In 1767, therefore, her relations consented to her union with the man of her choice. She brought him some fortune; at least sufficient to purchase the living of Blagdon, in Somersetshire; and to Blagdon he immediately removed, to fulfil in person his pastoral duties.
The felicity which Langhorne enjoyed in the married state was exquisite but transient. In the poem entitled Precepts of Conjugal Happiness, addressed to his wife's sister, Mrs. Nelthorpe, he describes his wife as "that gentle heart, where my soul lives, and holds her dearest part." Of that life of his soul he was soon after suddenly deprived. Little more than a year had elapsed, when Mrs. Langhorne expired in giving birth to a son. She was buried in the chancel of Blagdon church, and her husband inscribed on her monument the following lines:
With Sappho's taste, with Arria's tender heart,
Lucretia's honour, and Cecilia's art,
That such a woman died surprise can't give,
'Tis only strange that such a one should live.
In these lines I can discover nothing to praise. They are recommended neither by elegance nor pathos. The composition is careless, the comparison is pedantic, and the pert epigrammatic turn of the last line is at variance with true feeling and the solemnity of the subject.
A more worthy tribute was, however, paid to her virtues by her husband, in Verses to the Memory of a Lady, written at Sandgate Castle. It is singular that, on this occasion, he went out of his way to attack the monody by Lord Lyttelton, a man with whom he had been acquainted, and of whose approbation he had publicly boasted. The monody he censures, as being tame in feeling, and florid in expression; and he more than hints that the love which inspired his lordship was not of an ardent kind. He ought to have known that the sorrow which is so overpoweringly poignant as to be incapable of seeking for ornament to grace its strains, must at least be equally incapable of indulging in critical remarks on style; and having reprobated "flowery grief," he should not have introduced Love crowned with flowers, wounding with golden shafts, and leading the rosy day, or dejected Hymen strewing his wreaths on the dim grave. The imagery is beautiful, but it violates his own system. The fourteen lines, in which he alludes to Lyttelton and Petrarch, seem to be wholly out of place. They interrupt offensively the train of thought which the melancholy opening of the poem excites. Were they expunged, no poem, perhaps, would better deserve than this of Langhorne the praise of tenderness and pathos.
By these verses Langhorne acquired the friendship of Scott, of Amwell, who was then suffering from the same calamity, and solaced his woe in a similar manner. The friendship thus formed continued till it was dissolved by death.
Returning to his literary pursuits with fresh eagerness, in the hope, perhaps, of diverting his attention from mournful ideas, Langhorne, in 1769, gave to the public Letters supposed to have passed between M. de St. Evremond and Walter, in two volumes; and Frederic and Pharamond, or the Consolations of Human Life, in one volume. The latter work consists of four dialogues on the consolation which religion and philosophy can afford to persons who are afflicted. It is evidently from the pen of a man of sense and learning; but it is not remarkable for profound thinking, or beauty of diction. The Letters of St. Evremond and Waller are in a lighter strain. They are not unamusing; the assumed character of the writers is not badly supported; yet they will seldom, if ever, be read a second time. They want that vivifying spirit without which no book can live. I am not aware that they passed through more than one edition.
Shortly after the death of his wife, Langhorne went to reside with his elder brother, who was then rector of Hawkinge, and perpetual curate of Folkestone, in Kent. William Langhorne, though inferior in talent to John, was a man of respectable abilities. He is the author of a Paraphrase of a part of Isaiah, of Job, a poem, and of two volumes of sermons. Than these no two brothers were ever animated with a warmer mutual affection. While they resided together at Folkestone, they jointly completed a translation of Plutarch's Lives, of which it is unnecessary to say more than that it soon acquired a popularity which it still retains.
The Fables of Flora appeared in 1773; and, though defective in some essential points, they must be allowed to possess considerable merit. They display a lively fancy, and much power of description, and the versification is polished with a sedulous care.
In the autumn of the same year he lived for a few months at Potton, in Bedfordshire, and while there he wrote his Origin of the Veil, which, however, was not sent forth till two years afterwards. It is not one of his happiest efforts. About the same period he also gave to the world, with the title of Letters to Eleonora, his correspondence with Miss Cracroft, previous to his marriage. He is said to have committed these letters to the press in compliance with her request. The world did not receive them as favourably as she had done. They were criticised with coldness or disapprobation, and are so completely forgotten, that I have not been able to procure a copy.
In 1772 Langhorne revisited Westmoreland, his native county, and once more entered into the marriage state. His second wife was the daughter of Mr. Thompson, a magistrate, near Brough. Soon after their nuptials they made a tour through a part of France and Flanders, whence, in the spring of 1773, he returned to Blagdon, where he was put into the commission of the peace. A few months after his return, he published A Dissertation, historical and political, on the ancient Republics of Italy, from the Italian of Denina, to which he added notes and observations
At the solicitation of his friend and countryman, Dr. Burn, Langhorne composed a poem, partly didactic, partly satirical, which bears the title of The Country Justice. It is divided into three parts, which appeared in 1774, 1775, and 1777. Taken altogether, this is one of the best of Langhorne's productions in verse. His satire is keen without being vulgar, and it is relieved by descriptive and pathetic passages of no ordinary merit. It would be difficult to find anywhere lines more affecting than those which, in the first part, describe the soldier's widow weeping over her child. The benevolent spirit which pervades the whole of the poem cannot be too warmly praised.
The second wife of Langhorne died in 1770, and, like his first, she died in childbed. She left a daughter, whom by his will, he entrusted to the care of Mrs. Gillman. It is probable that he felt this second loss severely, but he left no record of his sorrow, except a slight allusion, in the stanzas to Senior Mozzi, prefixed to his version of Milton's Italian poems, which came forth in July, 1776. Of his translations, whether of Milton or Petrarch, it need only be observed, that they are not always faithful either to the letter or the spirit of their originals. In the course of this year be printed two occasional sermons.
In 1777 he was presented with a prebend in the cathedral of Wells. This preferment was given to him by Dr. Moss, at the request of the Bouverie family, and it was the highest that he obtained.
His last work was Owen of Carron, a tale, which came from the press in 1778. It is more unequal in its composition than any of his other poems. Alliteration is employed till it becomes tiresome; affected modes of expression repeatedly occur; and many passages are awkward and obscure. Yet it must be owned that be not unfrequently atones for his faults by masterly touches of imagination and pathos. Considered with reference to its moral effect, this tale is liable to objection. The deviation of Lady Ellen from the paths of virtue is passed over without even the slightest hint of censure.
The existence of Langhorne was closed before it reached an advanced period. After having suffered a lingering illness, he died at Blagdon House, on the first of April, 1779. The only poetical tribute which was paid to his memory was from the pen of his friend, Mr. Portal, who published an elegy on his death. In 1804 a new edition of his poems was published by his son.
If we look to the private character of Langhorne he appears in an amiable light. Social, warm-hearted, and liberal in his sentiments, he seems to have had few enemies, and numerous friends. One fault alone is imputed to him, it is said, that, during the latter part of his life, he was often a visitor at a Burton alehouse, then in much repute, the sign of the Peacock, in Gray's Inn Lane; where he at times quaffed somewhat largely of a beverage which Butler and Pope have stigmatised as being an inspirer of none but poetasters. The circumstance of his frequenting a house of that kind must, however, not be hastily taken as a proof of degrading habits; the Peacock being at that day the resort of many persons of character and genius. Nor is it to be supposed that he was an habitual violator of the laws of sobriety.
The defects of his poetry are a redundance of ornament, which encumbers what it is meant to embellish; an effeminate prettiness of manner, which detracts from the dignity of elevated subjects; and a diffuseness which weakens ideas that, were they clothed in more laconic language, might produce a forcible impression on the mind. Langhorne also has certain artifices of versification, and favourite peculiarities of style, which he employs till they become wearisome. Among these may be reckoned his making the emphasis fall on the adjective, as "bright rose," "pale power," "red rage on his dark brow glows;" and his introduction of the word "all," as a mere expletive, as in the lines, "All as I framed the love-lamenting tale," "All beneath a myrtle tree," and a variety of others.
These defects are, however, thinly scattered over his works, and they are counterbalanced by numerous beauties. He is often original, almost always elegant; is by turns pathetic, descriptive, and playfully satirical, and in each of these styles is above mediocrity; his diction is sparkling and polished; his metrical melody, though not extensive in compass, neither offends the ear by harshness, nor wearies it by monotony; and, crowning his merit as a writer, his sentiments are uniformly those of a man who reverences virtue, abhors cruelty and oppression and feels with a benevolent warmth for the sufferings of the wretched and the poor.