« PrejšnjaNaprej »
to rest upon the couch, till a short cessation restored his powers, and he was again able to talk with his former vigour.
The approaches of this dreadful malady he began to feel soon after his uncle's death; and, with the usual weakness of men so diseased, eagerly snatched that temporary relief with which the table and the bottle flatter and seduce. But his health continually declined, and he grew more and more burthensome to himself.
To what I have formerly said of his writings may be added, that his diction was often harsh, unskilfully laboured, and injudiciously selected. He affected the obsolete when it was not worthy of revival ; and he puts his words out of the common order, seeming to think, with some later candidates for fame, that not to write prose is certainly to write poetry.
His lines commonly are of slow motion, clogged and impeded with clusters of consonants. As men are often esteemed who cannot be loved, so the poetry of Collins may sometimes extort praise when it gives little pleasure.
Mr. Collins's first production is added here from the “ Poetical Calendar.”
TO MISS AURELIA CAR,
ON HER WEEPING AT HER SISTER'S WEDDING.
Cease, fair Aurelia, cease to mourn;
Lament not Hannah's happy state;
And seize the treasure you regret.
And softly whispers to your charms,
“ You'll find your sister in his arms."
D Y ER.
John DYER, of whom I have no other account to give than his own Letters, published with Hughes's correspondence, and the notes added by the editor, have afforded me, was born in 1700, the second son of Robert Dyer of Aberglasney, in Caermarthenshire, a solicitor of great capacity and note.
He passed through Westminster school under the care of Dr. Freind, and was then called home to be instructed in his father's profession. But his father died soon, and he took no delight in the study of the law; but having always amused himself with drawing, resolved to turn painter, and became pupil to Mr. Richardson, an artist then of high reputation, but now better known by his books than by his pictures.
Having studied awhile under his master, he became, as he tells his friend, an itinerant painter, and wandered about South Wales, and the parts adjacent; but he mingled poetry with painting, and about 1727 printed “Grọngar Hill” in Lewis's Miscellany.
Being, probably, unsatisfied with his own proficiency, he, like other painters, travelled to Italy ; and coming back in 1740, published the “Ruins of “ Rome.”
If his poem was written soon after his return, he did not make much use of bis acquisitions in painting, whatever they might be; for decline of health and love of study determined him to the Church. He therefore entered into orders; and, it seems, married about the same time a lady of the name of “ Ensor whose grand-mother,” says he, “was a “ Shakspeare, descended from a brother of every “ body's Shakspeare;” by her, in 1756, he had a son and three daughters living.
His ecclesiastical provision was for a long time but slender. His first patron, Mr. Harper, gave him, in 1741, Calthorp in Leicestershire, of eighty pounds a year, on which he lived ten years, and then exchanged it for Belchford in Lincolnshire, of seventy-five. His condition now began to mend. In 1751, Sir John Heathcote gave him Coningsby, of one hundred and forty pounds a year; and in 1755 the Chancellor added Kirkby, of one hundred and ten. He complains that the repair of the house at Coningsby, and other
the profit. In 1757 he published “ The Fleece,” his greatest poetical work; of which I will not suppress a ludicrous story. Dodsley the bookseller was one day mentioning it to a critical visitor, with more expectation of success than the other could easily admit. In the conversation the author's age
was asked ; and being represented as avanced in life, “He will,” said the critic, “be buried in woollen.”
He did not indeed long survive that publication, nor long enjoy the increase of his preferments; for in 1759 he died.
Dyer is not a poet of bulk or dignity sufficient to require an elaborate criticism. “ Grongar Hill” is the happiest of his productions : it is not indeed very accurately written ; but the scenes which it displays are so pleasing, the images which they raise are so welcome to the mind, and the reflections of the writer so consonant to the general sense or experience of mankind, that when it is once read, it will be read again.
The idea of the “ Ruins of Rome" strikes more but pleases less, and the title raises greater expectation than the performance gratifies. Some passages, however, are conceived with the mind of a poet; as when in the neighbourhood of dilapidating edifices, he says,
- The Pilgrim oft
Rattling around, loud thund'ring to the Moon. Of “ The Fleece," which never became popular, and is now universally neglected, I can say little that is likely to recall it to attention. The woolcomber and the poet appear to me such discordant natures, that an attempt to bring them together is to couple the serpent with the fowl. When Dyer,