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omitted was not properly in his plan. "His picture of man is grand and beautiful, but "unfinished. The immortality of the foul, "which is the natural confequence of the appetites and powers fhe is invested with, "is scarcely once hinted throughout the 66 poem. This deficiency is amply supplied "by the masterly pencil of Dr. Young; "who, like a good philofopher, has invincibly proved the immortality of man, "from the grandeur of his conceptions, "and the meannefs and mifery of his state; "for this reason, a few paffages are selected "from the Night Thoughts, which, with "thofe from Akenfide, feem to form a complete view of the powers, fituation, and “end of man.” Exercises for Improvement in Elocution, p. 66.


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His other poems are now to be confidered; but a short confideration will dispatch them. It is not easy to guess why he addicted himself so diligently to lyrick poetry, having neither the eafe and airiness of the lighter, nor the vehemence and elevation of the grander ode. When he lays his ill-fated hand upon his harp, his former powers feem


to defert him; he has no longer his luxuriance of expreffion, nor variety of images. His thoughts are cold, and his words inelegant. Yet fuch was his love of lyricks, that, having written with great vigour and poignancy his Epistle to Curio, he transformed it afterwards into an ode difgraceful only to its author.

Of his odes nothing favourable can be said; the fentiments commonly want force, nature, or novelty; the diction is fometimes harfh and uncouth, the ftanzas ill-conftructed and unpleasant, and the rhymes diffonant, or unfkilfully difpofed, too distant from each other, or arranged with too little regard to eftablished use, and therefore perplexing to the ear, which in a fhort compofition has not time to grow familiar with an innovation,

To examine fuch compofitions fingly, cannot be required; they have doubtless brighter and darker parts: but when they are once found to be generally dull, all further labour may be fpared; for to what ufe can the work be criticifed that will not be read?





HOMAS GRAY, the fon of Mr. Philip Gray, a scrivener of London, was born in Cornhill, November 26, 1716. His grammatical education he received at Eton under the care of Mr. Antrobus, his mother's brother, then affiftant to Dr. George; and when he left school, in 1734, entered a penfioner at Peterhouse in Cambridge.

The tranfition from the school to the college is, to most young scholars, the time from which they date their years of manhood, liberty, and happiness; but Gray seems to have been very little delighted with academical gratifications; he liked at Cambridge neither the mode of life nor the fashion of study, and lived fullenly on to the time when his attendance on lectures was no longer required. As he intended to profess the Common Law, he took no degree.



When he had been at Cambridge about five years, Mr. Horace Walpole, whofe friendship he had gained at Eton, invited him to travel with him as his companion. They wandered through France into Italy; and Gray's Letters contain a very pleafing account of many parts of their journey. But unequal friendships are easily diffolved: at Florence they quarrelled, and parted; and Mr. Walpole is now content to have it told that it was by his fault. If we look however without prejudice on the world, we shall find that men, whofe consciousness of their own merit fets them above the compliances of fervility, are apt enough in their affociation with fuperiors to watch their own dignity with troublesome and punctilious jealousy, and in the fervour of independance to exact that attention which they refuse to pay. Part they did, whatever was the quarrel, and the rest of their travels was doubtlefs more unpleasant to them both. Gray continued his journey in a manner fuitable to his own little fortune, with only an occafional fervant.



He returned to England in September 1741, and in about two months afterwards buried his father; who had, by an injudicious waste of money upon a new house, so much leffened his fortune, that Gray thought himself too poor to study the law. He therefore retired to Cambridge, where he foon after became Bachelor of Civil Law; and where, without liking the place or its inhabitants, or profeffing to like them, he passed, except a short refidence at London, the reft of his life.

About this time he was deprived of Mr. Weft, the son of a chancellor of Ireland, a friend on whom he appears to have set a high value, and who deserved his esteem by the powers which he fhews in his Letters, and in the Ode to May, which Mr. Mafon has preserved, as well as by the fincerity with which, when Gray fent him part of Agrippina, a tragedy that he had just begun, he gave an opinion which probably intercepted the progrefs of the work, and which the judgement of every reader will confirm. It was certainly no lofs to the English stage that Agrippina was never finished.


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