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of the “ Heroic Epistle to Sir William Chambers;" and Mason's explanation left the suspicion uncontradicted.
Among his accomplishments, his critical knowledge of painting must have been considerable, for his translation of Du Fresnoy's poem on that art, which appeared in 1783, was finished at the particular suggestion of Sir Joshua Reynolds, who furnished it with illustrative notes. One of his last publications was, “ An Ode on the Commemoration of the British Revolution.” It was his very last song in praise of Liberty. Had Soame Jennyns, whom our poet rallies so facetiously for his Toryism, lived to read his palinode after the French revolution, he might have retorted on him the lines which Mason put in the mouth of Dean Tucker, in his “ Dialogue of the Dean and the Squire.”
" Squire Jennyns, since with like intent
“ We both have writ of government." But he shewed that his philanthropy had suffered no abatement from the change of his politics, by delivering and publishing an eloquent sermon against the slave trade. In the same year that gave occasion to his Secular Ode, he condescended to be the biographer of his friend Whitehead, and the editor of his works. .
Mason's learning in the arts was of no ordinary kind. He composed several devotional pieces of music for the choir of York cathedral; and Dr. Burney speaks of an “ Historical and Critical Essay
on English Church Music," which he published in 1795, in very respectful terms. It is singular, however, that the fault ascribed by the same authority to his musical theory, should be that of Calvinistical plainness. In verse he was my Lord Peter; in his taste for sacred music, Dr. Burney compares him to Jack, in the “ Tale of a Tub.”
His death was occasioned, in his seventy-second year, by an accidental hurt on his leg, which he received in stepping out of a carriage, and which produced an incurable mortification.
OPENING SCENE OF CARACTACUS.
Aulus Didins, with Romans ; Vellinus and Elidurus, sons of the
British Queen Cartismandua.
Au. Did. This is the secret centre of the isle: Here, Romans, pause, and let the eye of wonder Gaze on the solemn scene; behold yon oak, How stern he frowns, and with his broad brown arms Chills the pale plain beneath him: mark yon altar, The dark stream brawling round its rugged base, These cliffs, these yawning caverns, this wide circus, Skirted with unhewn stone: they awe my soul, As if the very genius of the place Himself appear'd, and with terrific tread Stalk'd thro' his drear domain. And yet, my friends, (If shapes like his be but the fancy's coinage) Surely there is a hidden power, that reigns:
?Mid the lone majesty of untam'd nature,
Enter Vellinus and ELIDURUS.
Where dwells the seer?
Yet up the hill
... On the left
Are tenanted by Bards, who nightly thence,
Aul. Did. Prince, I did not moor
If here the monarch rests,
We know the task Most difficult, yet has thy royal mother Furnish'd the means.
Elid. . My mother, say'st thou, Roman?
Elid. She did: and we submit.
To Rome we bear you; From your dear country bear you; from your joys, Your loves, your friendships, all your souls hold
precious. Elid. And dost thou taunt us, Roman, with our fate? Aul. Did. No, youth, by Heav'n, I would avert
that fate. Wish ye for liberty?
Vel. and Elid. More than for life.
Name the task. Aul. Did. The task is easy. Haste ye to these
Druids : Tell them ye come, commission'd by your queen, To seek the great Caractacus; and call His valour to her aid, against the legions, Which, led by our Ostorius, now assail Her frontiers. The late treaty she has seald Is yet unknown: and this her royal signet, Which more to mask our purpose was obtain'd, Shall be your pledge of faith. The eager king Will gladly take the charge; and, he consenting, What else remains, but to the Menaï's shore.