1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Blacklock

Joseph Dennie, "Headnote to Life of Thomas Blacklock" Port Folio [Philadelphia] NS 1 (1 February 1806) 52.



The Life of one, who, from the peculiarities of his situation, and the powers of his mind, has had the honour of being candidly described by no less than four different biographers, seems to deserve more than ordinary attention. Our curiosity will be still more kindled, when among those biographers we distinguish the names of Joseph Spence and Henry Mackenzie. Nor have their labours been wasted on a barren topic. Blacklock, like Milton, was blind; and with something like Milton's power, he "bade all hindrances vanish before him." Though nature and fortune, as it should seem, had interdicted him from the paths of literature, yet the eternally active mind will remove every obstacle, and, elastic and aspiring, will often rise, though under the "iron sway" of adversity. The subject of this article triumphed. No accident could obscure the perfect vision of Fancy's eye, and no bleak gale of misfortune could chill the generous ardour of a poet's heart. His life is incentive to bold exertion; his fortitude will invigorate those, who are prone to faint in the race of life. His lays will satisfy and soothe the curious ear. His precepts will direct the young, and his piety warm the aged.