ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION
Rev. Thomas Blacklock
Richard Hewitt, "To Mr. Thomas Blacklock" 1760 ca.; Blacklock, Poems (1793) xxxi-xxxii &n.
Rev. Thomas Blacklock:
1746: Thomas Blacklock
1749: William Lauder
1755: Rev. Joseph Spence
1758: G. G.
1760 ca.: James Beattie
1760 ca.: Richard Hewitt
1765: Alexander Dick
1768: Dr. Hugh Downman
1770 ca.: Dr. Hugh Downman
1787: Robert Burns
1791: Samuel Johnson
1793: William Taylor of Norwich
1794: Robert Alves
1795: Dr. Robert Anderson
1798: Alexander Campbell
1806: Anna Seward
1806: Joseph Dennie
1808: Sir Walter Scott
1822: Joseph Robertson
1831: John Wilson Croker
1860: George Gilfillan
1882: Margaret Oliphant
1760 ca.: Rev. Thomas Blacklock
To fame and to the muse unknown
Where arts and science never shone,
A hamlet stands secure:
Her rustic sons, to toil inur'd,
By blooming health and gain allur'd,
Their grateful soil manure.
What means my heart; — 'Tis nature's pow'r:
Yes, here I date my natal hour,
My bursting heart would say:
Here sleep the swains from whom I sprung,
Whose conscience fell remorse ne'er stung;
For nature led their way.
Simplicity, unstain'd with crimes,
(A gem how rare in modern times;)
Was all from them I bore;
No foundling titles swell'd my pride;
My heart to mis'ry ne'er was ty'd,
By heaps of shining ore.
Heedless of wealth, of pow'r, of fame;
Heedless of each ambitious aim,
Here flow'd my boyish years.
How oft these plains I've thoughtless prest;
Whistled, or sung some fair distrest,
Whose fate would steal my tears!
Thus rude, unpolish'd, unrefin'd;
While, plung'd in darkest night, my mind
With pity mov'd, my fate you view'd;
My way to light, to reason shew'd,
And op'd the source of day:
You loos'd and form'd my infant thought;
Your skill, your matchless goodness taught,
Where truth and bliss to find:
Painted, by thee, in all her charms,
Each gen'rous heart fair Virtue warms,
And swells the ravish'd mind.
Hail, bright coelestial, all divine!
O come! inspire this breast of mine
With all thy heav'nly pow'r:
Lead, lead me to thy happiness;
Point out thy path to that blest place,
Where grief shall be no more.
This little poem can boast a quality which commendatory verses are not supposed always to possess, to wit, perfect sincerity and gratitude in the author. He was a poor native of a village in the neighbourhood of Carlisle, whom Mr. Blacklock had taken to lead him, and whom, finding him of promising parts, and of a disposition to learn, he endeavoured to make a scholar. He succeeded so well, as to teach young Hewitt the Latin, Greek, and French languages, and some knowledge in the sciences. The lad bore his master that warm affection which his kindness seldom failed to procure from his domestics, and left him, with unwillingness, to enter the service of Lord Milton, (then Lord Justice Clerk, and Sous-ministre for Scotland under Archibald Duke of Argyle), whose secretary he became. The fatigue of that station hurt his health, and he died in 1764.