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SIR WILLIAM JONES.
“ seen SO
WILLIAM JONES, the son of an eminent mathe- | Persian, at the request of the King of Denmark. matician, was born in London, in the year 1746. After making another tour, he gave up his tutorLosing his father, when only three years of age, he ship, and, in September, 1770, entered himself a was left to the entire care of his mother, a woman student of the Temple, for the purpose of studying of strong mind and good sense, and from whom he for the bar. He took this step in compliance with imbibed an early taste for literature. In 1753, he the earnest solicitations of his friends. “Their was sent to Harrow School, where he soon attract- advice," he says, in a letter to his friend Reviczki, ed the attention of the masters, and the admiration was conformable to my own inclinations; for the of his associates, by his extraordinary diligence only road to the highest stations in this country, is and superior talents. Among his school fellows that of the law; and I need not add how ambitious were Dr. Parr, and Bennett, asterwards Bishop of and laborious I am.” The mode in which he Cloyne, who, in speaking of young Jones, at the occupied himself in chambers is best described by age eight or nine, says, he was even then “ an un his own pen, in a letter to his friend, Dr. Bennett; common boy.” Describing his subsequent progress -“I have learned so much,” he says, at Harrow, he says, “ great abilities, great particu- much, written so much, said so much, and thought larity of thinking, fondness for writing verses and so much, since I conversed with you, that were I io plays of various kinds, and a degree of integrity attempt to tell half what I have learned, seen, and manly courage, distinguished him even at that writ, said, and thought, my letter would have no period. I loved him and revered him, and, though end. I spend the whole winter in attending the one or two years older than he was, was always public speeches of our greatest lawyers and senainstructed by him from my earliest age.” Such was tors, and in studying our own admirable laws. I his devotion to study, that he used to pass whole give up my leisure hours to a Political Treatise on nights over his books, until his eyesight became the Turks, from which I expect some reputation ; affected ; and Dr. Thackeray, the master of Har- and I have several objects of ambition which I row, said, “ so active was the mind of Jones, that cannot trust to letter, but will impart to you when if he were left, naked and friendless, on Salisbury we meet.” In the midst of all these engagements Plain, he would, nevertheless, find the road to he found time to attend Dr. William Hunter's lecfame and riches."
tures on anatomy, and to read Newton's Principia : In 1764, he was entered at University College, and in 1772, he published a collection of poems, Oxford, in opposition to the wishes of his friends, consisting, principally, of translations from the who advised his mother to place him under the Asiatic languages. In the same year he was electsuperintendence of some special pleader, as at that ed a fellow of the Royal Society; and, in 1774, early age he had made such a voluntary progress appeared his celebrated commentaries De Poesi in legal acquirements, as 10 be able to put cases Asiatica, which procured him great reputation both from an abridgement of Coke's Institutes. At the at home and abroad. university, instead of confining himself to the Being now called to the bar, he suspended all usual discipline, he continued the course of classi- literary pursuits, and devoted himself, with intense cal reading which he had commenced at Harrow, earnestness, to the study of his profession. In and devoted a considerable portion of his time to 1775, he became a regular attendant at Westminthe study of the oriental languages. During his ster Hall, and went the circuit and sessions at vacations, which he ger.erally spent in London, he Oxford ; and in the following year he was, without learnt riding and fencing ; and at home he occu- solicitation, made a commissioner of bankrupt, by pied himself in the perusal of the best Italian, Lord-chancellor Bathurst. It would seem, from the Spanish, French, and Portuguese authors. In 1765, correspondence of our author, that soon after his he became private tutor to Lord Althorp, the son of call to the bar, he acquired considerable practice, Earl Spencer ; and shortly afterwards he was elect- as he says, in a letter to Mr. Schultens, dated July, ed fellow on the foundation of Sir Simon Bennett. 1777, “My law employments, attendance in the
In 1767, he accompanied the Spencer family to courts, incessant studies, the arrangement of pleadGermany; and whilst at Spa, he learnt dancing, ings, trials of causes, and opinions to clients, the broad-sword exercise, music, besides the art of scarcely allow me a few moments for eating and playing on the Welsh harp; “ thus," to transcribe sleeping.” In 1778, he published his translation an observation of his own,“ with the fortune of of the Orations of Isæns, with a Prefatory Disa peasant, giving himself the education of a course, Notes, and Commentary, which displayed prince.” On his return, he resided with his pupil profound critical and historical research, and exat Harrow, and, during his abode there, he trans- cited much admiration. In March 1780, he publated into French the life of Nadir Shah from the lished a Latin Ode in favour of American freedom;
and, shortly afterwards, on the resignation of Sir want no addition to my fortune, which is enough Roger Newdigate, he was induced to become a for me; and if the whole legislature of Britain candidate for the representation of the University were to offer me a station different from that I now of Oxford ; but the liberality of his political prin- fill, I should most gratefully and respectfully deciples rendering his success hopeless, he declined cline it.” He continued, with indefatigable zeal, a poll. The tumults of this year induced him to his compilation of the Hindoo and Mahometan write a pamphlet, entitled, An Inquiry into the Digest; on the completion of which he was to Legal Mode of suppressing Riots, with a Constitu- have followed his wife to England, who had protional Plan of Future Defence; and about the ceeded thither, for the recovery of her health, in same period he published his celebrated essay on the December of 1793. This intention, however, the Law of Bailments, in which he treated his he did not live to carry into effect, being shortly subject, says Mr. Roscoe, with an accuracy of afterwards attacked with an inflammation of the method hitherto seldom exhibited by our legal liver, which terminated his existence on the 27th writers. In 1782, he spoke at a public meeting in of April, 1794. His epitaph, written by himself, favour of parliamentary reform, and also became is equally admirable for its truth and its elegance. a member of the Society for Contitutional Reformation. In a letter to the Dean of St. Asaph, this
Here was deposited year, he says it is “his wish to become as great a
the mortal part of a man
who feared God, but not death ; lawyer as Sulpicius ;” and hints at giving up
and inaintained independence, politics, to the resignation of which he was the
but sought not riches; more inclined in consequence of a bill of indict.
who thought none below him ment being preferred against the divine above
but the base and unjust ; mentioned, for publishing a tract, composed by none above him but the wise and virtuous; Jones, entitled, A Dialogue between a Farmer and who loved his parents, kindred, friends, and country; a Country Gentleman, on the Principles of Govern
and having devoted his life to their service,
and the improvement of his mind, ment. Of this our author immediately avowed
resigned it calmly, giving glory to his Creator, himself the writer, by a letter addressed to Lord
wishing peace on earth, Kenyon, in which he defended his positions, and
and good will to all his creatures. contended that they were conformable to the laws of England.
His character was, indeed, truly estimable in His political principles had for some time pre- every respect. “To exquisite taste and learning vented him obtaining the grand object of his am- quite unparalleled," says Dr. Parr, “Sir William bition,--an Indian judge-ship; but he was at Jones is known to have united the most benevolent length, in March, 1783, appointed judge of the temper, and the purest morals." His whole life Supreme Court of Judicature in Bengal, through was one unceasing struggle for the interests of his the influence of Lord Ashburton. Previous to his fellow creatures, and, unconnected with this object, departure he received the honour of knighthood, he knew no ambition. He was a sincere aad pious and married Miss Shipley, daughter to the Bishop | Christian; and in one of his latest discourses to of St. Asaph, with whom he arrived in Calentta, in the Asiatic Society, he has done more to give September, and entered upon his judicial functions validity to the Mosaic account of the creation, in the following December. Law, literature, and than the researches of any contemporary writers. philosophy, now engrossed his attention to such a His acquirements as a linguist were absolutely degree, that his health, on which the climate also wonderful : he understood, critically, English, had a prejudicial influence, was quickly impaired. Latin, French, Italian, Greek, Arabic, Persian, and In a letter to Dr. Patrick Russell, dated March, Sanscrit; he could translate, with the aid of a 1784, he says, “ I do not expect, as long as I stay in dictionary, the Spanish, Portuguese, German, Ru. India, to be free from a bad digestion, the morbus nic, Hebrew, Bengalee, Hindoo, and Turkish ; and literatorum, for which there is hardly any remedy he had bestowed considerable attention on the but abstinence from too much food, literary and Russian, Swedish, Coptic, Welsh, Chinese, Dutch, culinary. I rise before the sun, and bathe after a Syriac, and several other languages. In addition gentle ride ; my diet is light and sparing, and I go to his vast stock of literary information, he posearly to rest; yet the activity of my mind is 100 sessed extensive legal knowledge ; and, as far as strong for my constitution, though naturally not we may judge from his translations, had sufficient infirm, and I must be satisfied with a valetudina- capacity and taste for a first-rate original poet. rian state of health.” Soon after his arrival he His indefatigable application and industry have, projected the scheme of the Asiatic Society, of perhaps, never been equalled ; even when in illwhich he became the first president, and contri. health he rose at three in the morning, and what buted many papers to its memoirs. With a view were called his hours of relaxation, were devoted to rendering himself a proficient in the science of to studies, which would have appalled the most Sanscrit and Hindoo laws, he studied the Sanscrit | vigorous minds. In 1799, his widow published a and Arabic languages with great ardour; and splendid edition of his works, in six volumes, folio, whilst on a tour through the district of Benares, and placed, at her own expense, a marble statue for the recovery of his health, he composed a tale, of him, executed by Flaxman, in the anti-chamber in verse, called The Enchanted Fruit, and A Trea of University College, Oxford ; and, among other tise on the Gods of Greece, Italy, and India. In public testimonies of respect to his memory, the 1790, he appears to have received an offer of some directors of the East India Company voted him a augmentation of his salary, as, in a letter of that monument in St. Paul's Cathedral, and a statue in year to Sir James Macpherson, he says, “ Really I | Bengal.
Then Delia thus: “Or rather, since we meet
By chance, assembled in this cool retreat,
In artful contest let our warlike train
Daphnis, who taught us first, the play shall guide;
Explain its laws, and o'er the field preside:
We fight with pleasure, if we fight for fame."
The nymph consents: the maids and youths
A polish'd board, with different colours graced ;
Like the broad target by the tortoise borne,
Or like the hide by spotted panthers worn.
Then from a chest, with harmless heroes stored,
O'er the smooth plain two well-wrought hosts he
The champions burn'd their rivals to assail,
Twice eight in black, twice eight in milk-white
In shape and station different, as in name,
Their motions various, nor their power the same.
Say, muse! (for Jove has naught from thee
Who form'd the legions on the level field?
High in the midst the reverend kings appear,
One solemn step, majestically slow,
They gravely move, and shun the dangerous foe;
And die with rapture, if they save their king ;
On him the glory of the day depends. The sweet Sirena ; both in beauty's pride:
He, once imprison'd, all the conflict ends. Thus shine two roses, fresh with early bloom,
The queens exulting near their consorts stand; That from their native stalk dispense perfume;
Each bears a deadly falchion in her hand; Their leaves unfolding to the dawning day,
Now here, now there, they bound with furious pride, Gems of the glowing mead, and eyes of May.
And thin the trembling ranks from side to side;
Swift as Camilla flying o'er the main,
Or lightly skimming o'er the dewy plain :
Fierce as they seem, some bold plebeian spear
May pierce their shield, or stop their full career.
The valiant guards, their minds on havoc bent, And Daphnis, doom'd to love, yet love in vain.
Fill the next squares, and watch the royal tent;
Alternant semper variæ, subeuntque vicissiin
Albentes nigris; testudo picta superne Or catch with silken lines the finny race ?"
Qualia devexo gestat discrimina tergo.
Vida. † Agmina bina pari numeroque, et viribus æquis, IMITATIONS.
Bis nivea cum veste octo, totidemque nigranti.
Ut variæ facies, pariter sunt et sua cuique
Nomina, diversum munus, non æqua potestas. ibid.
1 The chief art in the tactics of chess consists in the
Lucrelius. I their places with others equally supported; a principle,
To right and left the martial wings display But e'en her frowns (ah, what might smiles have Their shining arms, and stand in close array.
done!) Behold! four archers, eager to advance,
Fired all his soul, and all his senses won. Send the light reed, and rush with sidelong glance; He left his car, by raging tigers drawn, Through angles, ever, they assault the foes, And lonely wander'd o'er the dusky lawn; True to the colour, which at first they chose. Then lay desponding near a murmuring stream, Then four bold knights for courage famed and speed, And fair Caissa was his plaintive theme. Each knight exalted on a prancing steed : A Naiad heard him from her mossy bed, Their arching course no vulgar limit knows,* And through the crystal raised her placid head Transverse they leap, and aim insidious blows, Then mildly spake : "O thou whom love inspires, Nor friends, nor foes, their rapid force restrain, Thy tears will nourish, not allay thy fires. By one quick bound two changing squares they The smiling blossoms drink the pearly dew; gain;
And ripening fruit the feather’d race pursue ; From varying hues renew the fierce attack, The scaly shoals devour the silken weeds! And rush from black to white, from white to black. Love on our sighs, and on our sorrow feeds. Four solemn elephants the sides defend ;
Then weep no more ; but, ere thou canst obtain Beneath the load of ponderous towers they bend : Balm for thy wounds and solace to thy pain, In one unalter'd line they tempt the fight; With gentle art thy martial look beguile ; Now crush the left, and now o'erwhelm the right. Be mild, and teach thy rugged brow to smile. Bright in the front the dauntless soldiers raise Canst thou no play, no soothing game devise, Their polish'd spears; their steely helmets blaze : To make thee lovely in the damsel's eyes ? Prepared they stand the daring foe to strike, So may thy prayers assuage the scornful dame, Direct their progress, but their wounds oblique. And ev'n Caissa own a mutual flame.” Now swell th' embattled troops with hostile rage, • Kind nymph, (said Mars,) thy counsel I approve; A nd clang their shields, impatient to engage ; Art, only art, her ruthless breast can move. When Daphnis thus : “ A varied plain behold, But when ? or how? Thy dark discourse explain: Where fairy kings their mimic tents unfold, So may thy stream ne'er swell with gushing rain; As Oberon, and Mab, his wayward queen,
So may thy waves in one pure current flow, Lead forth their armies on the daisied green. And flowers eternal on thy border blow!" No mortal had the wondrous sport contrived, “ * To whom the maid replied with smiling mien: By gods invented, and from gods derived ;
Above the palace of the Paphian queen From them the British nymphs received the game,(t) Love's brother dwells, a boy of graceful port, And play each morn beneath the crystal Thame; By gods named Euphron, and by mortals Sport; Hear then the tale, which they to Colin sung,
Seek him ; to faithful ears unfold thy grief, As idling o'er the lucid wave he hung :
And hope, ere morn return, a sweet relief. ** A lovely Dryad ranged the Thracian wild, His temple hangs below the azure skies ; Her air enchanting and her aspect mild ;
Seest thou yon argent cloud ? 'Tis there it lies.” To chase the bounding hart was all her joy This said, she sunk beneath the liquid plain, Averse from Hymen, and the Cyprian boy ; And sought the mansion of her blue-hair'd train. O'er hills and valleys was her beauty famed,
Meantime the god, elate with heart-felt joy, And fair Caissa was the damsel named.
Had reach'd the temple of the sportful boy ; Mars saw the maid ; with deep surprise he gazed, He told Caïssa's charms, his kindred fire, Admired her shape, and every gesture praised :
The Naiad's counsel, and his warm desire. His golden bow the child of Venus bent,
Be swift, (he added) give my passion aid ; And through his breast a piercing arrow sent: A god requests."—He spake, and Sport obey'd. The reed was Hope ; the feathers, keen Desire ; He framed a tablet of celestial mould, The point, her eyes; the barbs, ethereal fire. Inlaid with squares of silver and of gold ; Soon to the nymph he pour'd his tender strain ; Then of two metals form'd the warlike band, The haughty Dryad scorn'd his amorous pain : That here, compact, in show of battle stand ; He told his woes, where'er the maid he found, He taught the rules that guide the pensive game, And still he press’d, yet still Caïssa frown'd; And call'd it Cassa from the Dryad's name :
(Whence Albion's sons, who most its praise con
fess, on which the success of the game in great measure Approved the play, and named it thoughtful Chess.) depends, though it seems to be omitted by the very accu. The god, delighted, thank'd indulgent Sport; rate Vida
Then grasp'd the board, and left his airy court. IMITATIONS.
With radiant feet he pierced the clouds; nor stay'd, “Il cavallo leggier per dritta lista,
Till in the woods he saw the beauteous maid. Come gli altri, parringo unqua non fende,
Tired with the chase the damsel sat reclined, Ma la lizza attraversa, e fiero in vista
Her girdle loose, her bosom unconfined. Corvo in giro, e lunato il salto stende,
He took the figure of a wanton faun, E sempre nel saltar due case acquista,
And stood before her on the flowery lawn; Quel colore abbandona, e questo prende.
Marino, Adone. 15. tQuæ quondam sub aquis gaudent spectacla tueri
• Ecco d'astuto ingegno, e pronta mano Nereides, vastique omnis gens accola ponti;
Garzon, che sempre scherza, e vola ratto, Siquando placidum mare, et humida regna quierunt. Gioco d'apella, ed e d'amor germano.
Marino, Adone. 15.
Then show'd his tablet; pleased, the nymph sur. | Whilst her lost castle leaves his threatening height, vey'd
And adds new glory to th' exulting knight. The lifeless troops, in glittering ranks display'd ; At this, pale fear oppress'd the drooping maid, She ask'd the wily sylvan to explain
And on her cheek the rose began to fade : The various motions of the splendid train ; À crystal tear, that stood prepared to fall, With eager heart she caught the winning lore, She wiped in silence, and conceal'd from all; And thought e'en Mars less hateful than before : From all but Daphnis: he remark'd her pain, “What spell (said she) deceived my careless mind ? | And saw the weakness of her ebon train; The god was fair, and I was most unkind.” Then gently spoke : “Let me your loss supply, She spoke, and saw the changing faun assume And either nobly win, or nobly die; A milder aspect, and a fairer bloom;
Me oft has fortune crown'd with fair success, His wreathing horns, that from his temples grew, And led to triumph in the fields of chess." Flow'd down in curls of bright celestial hue; He said : the willing nymph her place resign'd, The dappled hairs, that veil'd his loveless face, And sat at distance on the bank reclined. Blazed into beams, and show'd a heavenly grace; Thus, when Minerva call'd her chief to arms, The shaggy hide, that mantled o'er his breast, And Troy's high turret shook with dire alarms, Was soften'd to a smooth transparent vest,
The Cyprian goddess, wounded, left the plain, That through its folds his vigorous bosom show'd, And Mars engaged a mightier force in vain. And nervous limbs, where youthful ardour glow'd: Straight Daphnis leads his squadron to the field; (Had Venus view'd him in those blooming charms (To Delia's arms 'tis e’en a joy to yield.) Not Vulcan's net had forced her from his arms.) Each guileful snare and subtle art he tries, With goatlike feet no more he mark'd the ground, But finds his art less powerful than her eyes ; But braided flowers his silken sandals bound. Wisdom and strength superior charms obey: The Dryad blush'd ; and, as he press'd her, smiled, And beauty, beauty, wins the long-fought day. Whilst all his cares one tender glance beguiled." By this—a hoary chief, on slaughter bent,
He ends : To arms, the maids and striplings cry; | Approach'd the gloomy king's unguarded tent: To arms, the groves and sounding vales reply. Where, late, his consort spread dismay around, Sirena led to war the swarthy crew,
Now her dark corse lies bleeding on the ground. And Delia those that bore the lily's hue.
Hail, happy youth! thy glories not unsung Who first, O muse, began the bold attack;
Shall live eternal on the poet's tongue; The white refulgent, or the mournful black? For thou shalt soon receive a splendid change, Fair Delia first, as favouring lots ordain,
And o'er the plain with nobler fury range. Mores her pale legions toward the sable train: The swarthy leaders saw the storm impend, From thought to thought her lively fancy flies, And strove in vain their sovereign to defend : Whilst o'er the board she darts her sparkling eyes. Th'invader waved his silver lance in air, At length the warrior moves with haughty And flew like lightning to the fatal square; strides ;
His limbs, dilated, in a moment grew Who from the plain the snowy king divides ; To stately height, and widen'd to the view; With equal haste his swarthy rival bounds; More fierce his look, more lion-like his mien, His quiver rattles, and his buckler sounds :
Sublime he moved, and seem'd a warrior queen. Ah! hapless youths, with fatal warmth you burn; As when the sage on some unfolding plant Laws, ever fir’d, forbid you to return.
Has caught a wondering fly, or frugal ant, Then from the wing a short-lived spearman flies, His hand the microscopic frame applies, Unsafely bold, and see! he dies, he dies :
And lo! a bright-hair'd monster meets his eyes; The dark-brow'd hero, with one vengeful blow,
He sees new plumes in slender cases rollid Of life and place deprives his ivory foe.
Here stain'd with azure, there bedropp'd with gold; Now rush both armies o'er the burnish'd field, Thus, on the alter'd chief both armies gaze, Hurl the swift dart, and rend the bursting shield. And both the kings are fix'd with deep amaze. Here furious knights on fiery coursers prance, The sword, which arm'd the snow-white maid Here archers spring, and lofty towers advance.
before, But see! the white-robed Amazon beholds
He now assumes, and hurls the spear no more ; Where the dark host its opening van unfolds :
Then springs indignant on the dark-robed band, Soon as her eye discerns the hostile maid,
And knights and archers feel his deadly hand. By ebon shield, and ebon helm betray'd :
Now flies the monarch of the sable shield, Seven squares she passes with majestic mien,
His legions vanquish’d, o'er the lonely field. And stands triumphant o'er the falling queen, So when the morn, by rosy coursers drawn,* Perplex’d, and sorrowing at his consort's fate,
With pearls and rubies sows the verdant lawn, The monarch burn’d with rage, despair, and hate; Whilst each pale star from heaven's blue vault Swift from his zone th' avenging blade he drew,
Medio rex æquore inermis
Constitit amissis sociis : velut æthere in alto And, wildly prancing, in an evil hour,
Expulit ardentes flammas ubi lutea bigis Attack'd at once the monarch and the tower :
Luciferis Aurora, tuus pulcherrimus ignis Sirena blush’d, for, as the rules required,
Lucet adhuc, Venus, et celo inox ultimus exit. Her injured sovereign to his tent retired ;
Vida, ver. 601.