1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Francis Garden

William Forbes, in Life and Writings of James Beattie (1806) 1:24-25.



To Beattie Mr. Garden became accidentally known, by his having found him one day in his favourite glen, employed in writing with a pencil. On enquiring what he was about, and finding that he was employed in the composition of a poem, Mr. Garden's curiosity was attracted, and from that period he took the young bard under his protection. Dr. Beattie has been frequently heard to mention an anecdote which took place in the early part of his acquaintance with that gentleman. Mr. Garden, having seen some of his pieces in manuscript, and entertaining some doubt of their being entirely of his own composition, in order to satisfy himself of the abilities of the young poet, asked him, with politeness, to translate the invocation to Venus from the first book of Lucretius. In compliance with this request, Beattie retired into the adjoining wood, and in no long time produced the translation, bearing all the marks of original composition, for it was much blotted with alterations and corrections. It was printed in the first collection of Dr. Beattie's poems in the year 1760, but omitted in all the subsequent editions.