1844 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Hawkesworth

Robert Chambers, in Cyclopaedia of English Literature (1844; 1850) 2:155.



The Adventurer, by Dr. Hawkesworth, succeeded The Rambler, and was published twice a-week from 1752 to 1754. JOHN HAWKESWORTH (1715-1773) rose from being a watchmaker to considerable literary eminence by his talents and learning. He was employed to write the narrative of Captain Cook's discoveries in the Pacific Ocean, by which he realised a large sum of money, and he made an excellent translation of Telemachus. With the aid of Dr. Johnson, Warton, and others, he carried on The Adventurer with considerable success. It was more various than The Rambler — more in the style of light reading. Hawkesworth, however, was an imitator of Johnson, and the conclusion of The Adventurer has the Johnsonian swell and cast of imagination:—

"The hour is hastening in which whatever praise or censure I have acquired by these compositions, if they are remembered at all, will be remembered with equal indifference, and the tenor of them only will afford me comfort. Time, who is impatient to date my last paper, will shortly moulder the hand that is now writing it in the dust, and still this breast that now throbs at the reflection: but let not this be read as something that relates only to another; for a few years only can divide the eye that is now reading from the hand that has written. This awful truth, however obvious, and however reiterated, is yet frequently forgotten; for surely, if we did not lose our remembrance, or at least our our sensibility, that view would always predominate in our lives which alone can afford us comfort when we die."