Lives of
Scottish Poets
edited by
DAVID HILL RADCLIFFE

Center for Applied Technologies
in the Humanities


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Part I. (Volume I.)
Front-matter
James the First
Thomas the Rhymer
John Barbour
Andrew Wyntoun
Gavin Douglas
Allan Ramsay
William Meston
John Home
James Beattie
Robert Burns

Part II. (Volume I.)
Front-matter
James the Fifth
William Dunbar
Sir James Inglis
Henry the Minstrel
Sir David Lyndsay
Alexander Barclay
Alexander Montgomerie
William Alexander
William Drummond
James Thomson
John Oswald

Part III. (Volume II.)
Front-matter
James the Sixth
Sir Richard Maitland
Arthur Johnston
Hamilton of Bangour
Hamilton of Gilbertfield
Samuel Colvil
Alexander Ross
John Armstrong
John Ogilvie
James Macpherson
Charles Salmon

Part IV. (Volume II.)
Front-matter
Alexander Hume
John Bellenden
Mark Alexander Boyd
Ninian Paterson
William Wilkie
Robert Fergusson
William Julius Mickle
Alexander Geddes
James Grahame

Part V. (Volume III.)
Front-matter
Robert Henryson
Alexander Scott
Walter Kennedy
John Ogilby
Alexander Pennecuik
Alexander Cunningham
David Mallet
William Falconer
Francis Garden
Robert Blair
James Moor
James Graeme
Caleb Whitefoord
James Grainger
Hector Macneill
John Wilson

Part VI. (Volume III.)
Front-matter
Robert Kerr
Richard Lord Maitland
Thomas Hamilton
Charles Hamilton
Michael Bruce
Thomas Blacklock
John Logan
Andrew Macdonald
James Mercer

Appendix. (Volume III.)
James I
Allan Ramsay
John Home
Robert Burns
William Drummond
Robert Fergusson
Alexander Scott
John Wilson
Index
Corrections

Part  V:
LORD GARDENSTONE
82LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
FRANCIS GARDEN, ESQ.
(Lord Gardenstone)

1

Francis Garden [note] was born at Edinburgh, June 24, 1721. He was the second son of Alexander Garden, Esq. of Troup, and Jane, daughter of Sir Francis Grant, of Cullen, one of the Senators of the College of Justice. After passing through the usual course of liberal education at the university of his native city, he applied to the study of law as a profession, and was admitted a member of the Faculty of Advocates in 1744.

2

For some years Mr. Garden was less distinguished for his displays at the bar, than for a disposition to literary pursuits, and the gay enjoyments of convivial intercourse. His chief delight was in the social circle, where a lively fancy, a strong flow of constitutional good humour, and much of that fondness for new opinions, so common to young and ardent minds, made him equally beloved and admired. Occasionally, the Muses would come in for a share of his devotions; and the last love ditty, or Imitation of Horace, [note] by Mr. Garden, was oftener inquired after among his friends, than what important cause he had last pleaded before the courts.

3

Although such habits cannot be supposed to have been favorable to his progress in legal knowledge,
POETS — LORD GARDENSTONE.83
yet no such deficiency was ever perceptible in his professional appearances. With the aid of a vigorous understanding, great quickness in getting at the points on which an issue depended, and a manly, engaging style of eloquence, he covered over all defects, and left his clients no reason to complain of the want either of ability or zeal in their advocate. His reputation as a barrister increased almost in spite of himself and of his gay propensities; and there were, at length, few important causes in which he was not engaged. In the celebrated one relating to the Douglas Peerage, he took a leading part, and was one of the counsel sent to France, to inquire into the circumstances connected with the case which occurred in that country.

4

In 1764, Mr. Garden was promoted to be His Majesty's Solicitor General; and shortly after raised to the bench, when he assumed the title of Lord Gardenstone.

5

His lordship had, a few years before this event, made a purchase of the estate of Johnston, in the county of Kincardine; and his office of judge affording him considerable leisure, he now commenced upon his property one of the most liberal schemes of improvement which have been witnessed in Scotland for the last century. Adjoining to the estate was a miserable village, called Laurencekirk. In 1730, the number of inhabitants in it did not exceed eighty, and, at the time of Lord Gardenstone's purchase, they had decreased to fifty-four. In 1765, his lordship laid down a plan of a now village, and began to offer leases of small farms, and ground for building
84LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
upon, for the term of one hundred years at a low rent, and on the most liberal conditions. Settlers, of all descriptions, flocked rapidly to the village; and as a still farther encouragement, his lordship, within a few years, reduced his ground rents to one half of the original rate. His next object was to provide employment for this increasing population; and with this view, he engaged in several undertakings, which were not, however, attended with that success which he anticipated. Projects for the establishment of a print-field, and manufactures of linen and stockings, attempted with sanguine hopes in the new village, and chiefly at his lordship's risk and expense, misgave in such a manner as might well have dis-spirited a man of less steady and ardent philanthropy. But the village, notwithstanding, still continued to increase in size and prosperity; and many useful manufactures sprung up, as it were spontaneously, among the people themselves; in particular, that of the snuff boxes, for which Laurencekirk has since become so famous. In 1779, his lordship procured it to be erected into a Burgh of Barony, with power to elect every three years a baillie and four counsellors, to regulate the police of the burgh, with the privilege of holding weekly markets and an annual fair. He also erected a handsome inn for the reception of travellers, and furnished it with a library for their amusement, (probably the only one of the kind in either kingdom,) and with an album for the reception of fugitive specimens of poetry, in imitation of those to be met with at most places of note on the continent. And to complete his lordship's satisfaction,
POETS — LORD GARDENSTONE.85
he had, at length, the pleasure of seeing a linen manufactory and bleach-field established, and in a thriving state.

6

A late English tourist (Skrine) [note] in speaking of Laurencekirk, describes it in the following animated terms: “The taste and liberality of Lord Gardenstone have decorated this spot in a manner very unusual in Scotland, neatness appearing to be its prevailing character, and even elegance being, in some respects, studied. Not content with employing those leisure hours, which the high station he held in a laborious profession allowed him, in adorning his patrimonial territory, this nobleman extended his cares over all the poorer order of people, and shone most as the patron of industry and virtue. Renouncing all those oppressive and invidious privileges which still exist as relics of the feudal system in Scotland, he set a noble example to the great landholders in his neigbbourhood, and obtained a just portion of admiration and applause, without meanly courting the public favour, or seeking adulation from sycophants. Inflexibly severe in holding the balance of justice, he restrained transgressions by his authority, and prevented the temptation to commit them, by the judicious liberality with which he encouraged industry and established various manufactures within his extensive domain. The village of Laurencekirk owes its existence and prosperity to these active virtues, being entirely rebuilt by his munificence.”

7

In a memoir which his lordship had occasion to write concerning this village, he thus nobly estimates the satisfaction which he had derived from the undertaking. “He had,” he says, “tried in some
86LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
measure a variety of the pleasures which mankind pursue; but never relished any so much as the pleasure arising from the progress of his village.”

8

In 1785, his brother, Alexander Garden, of Troup, who was sometime member of parliament for Aberdeenshire, dying without issue, Lord Gardenstone succeeded to the family estates, worth about £3000 a year. Beginning now to feel the infirmities of age, his lordship availed himself of this increase of fortune, to put in execution a plan of foreign travel, by which he hoped to recruit his strength, and prolong his days of usefulness on the earth. He resigned the justiciary or criminal branch of his duties as a judge for a pension of £200; and procuring a temporary dispensation from the performance of his civil functions, took his departure for the continent in September, 1786. The whole of the next two years he spent in travelling through France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy; so arranging his progress, as to elude, as far as possible, the frosts of winter, and to secure, at each place where he sojourned, the genial blessing of a warm and benign atmosphere. At the end of 1788, he returned to his native country, considerably invigorated in constitution, and with a large store of objects of natural history and specimens of the fine arts, collected in the course of his travels.

9

Immediately after his return, he began revising the journal which he had kept of his foreign tour; and in 1791, published the first volume of “Travelling Memorandums made in a tour upon the continent of Europe in the years 1786, 1787, and 1788.” In 1793, he added a second volume; and, since his
POETS — LORD GARDENSTONE.87
death, a third has been supplied from his papers by his friends. The work contains a great deal of acute observation and curious anecdote; and till superseded by the works of more recent, though not often so intelligent travellers, was much read and admired.

10

In 1791, he also published under the title of “Miscellanies, in prose and verse,” a collection of the various fugitive pieces which he had written at different periods, but chiefly in the gayer days of his youth. It appeared without his name, but was immediately assigned by general report to his lordship, nor has there ever appeared any reason to doubt that he was the author.

11

His lordship's residence, during the closing years of his life, was chiefly at Edinburgh. He imagined that he derived benefit from the use of the mineral spring, called St. Bernard's Well, in the vicinity of that city, and as a mark of his gratitude he erected over it a very massy building of free stone, surmounted by a Temple in the ancient taste, in which he placed a statue of Hygeia, the goddess of health. The elegance of the building, and the romantic scenery amid which it was placed, its base being washed by a small river, whose precipitous and woody banks are in some places finely ornamented and every where beautiful, soon attracted crowds of visitors, who benefiting, if not from the water, at least from the fine air which they breathed, and the exercise they enjoyed, the spring acquired such reputation for its supposed virtues, that it has ever since continued a place of favorite resort for the inhabitants of the city.

12

Having reached the advanced age of seventy-three,
88LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
Lord Gardenstone departed this life on the 22nd of July, 1793, universally and deeply regretted.

13

The point of view in which the character of his lordship first claims our attention, is that in which it is perhaps least eminent. As a judge he did not rank high. Integrity, good sense, and humanity, distinguished his conduct; but his decisions neither helped to restore old land marks, nor establish new. Into the learning of his profession, to which he had probably never any great liking, he had but just dipped; and to the habits of application which it requires, he was, it is to be feared, at all times too much a stranger. The convivial propensities which distinguished his youth, did not cease to be a prominent feature of his more advanced years; and many stories are still current of lapses on this score, which, however amusing for their eccentricity, must have suited ill with the gravity of the judicial character.

14

As a land-holder and improver, Lord Gardenstone deserves a place with the Dawsons, [note] the Kaimes's, [note] the Dempsters, [note] and the Sinclairs, [note] of his country. He exhibited on his estate an example, which, if generally followed, (and who may not follow it?) would soon make emigration a forgotten evil. Never had the labouring classes a patron who looked into their wants with a more anxious eye, or with a more earnest desire to relieve them. Often was he in the midst of them on a visit of beneficence, when they knew it not, delighting, according to common fame, in such humble disguises as those of a beggar or a ballad singer, to find his way to their fire-sides, and there to learn how they really fared, and how their condition could possibly be improved. Of this dispo-
POETS — LORD GARDENSTONE.89
sition to do good to others, and to hold all other merits as small in comparison, we have a striking exemplification in a note which he has subjoined to one of the pieces in his Miscellanies, written, On reading Memoirs of Frederick III. By Joseph Towers, LL.D. It is such an opinion of the great Frederick, [note] as might be expected from one who was himself a rebuilder and a founder. Towers, [note] it may be remembered, has taken a very unfavourable view of the character of the Prussian hero; Lord Gardenstone remarks, “When the Prince succeeded to his father, the Prussian dominions did not contain two millions and a half of inhabitants. At his death, after a reign of forty-six years, the number exceeded four millions; besides two millions in the provinces of Silesia and Pomerelia. And so much at ease do the peasantry feel themselves, that the annual number of births surpasses that of burials, by upwards of fifty thousand. Baron Trenck [note] is an unsuspected witness to the rapid increase in every sort of improvement, as well as population. He informs us, that after the seven years' war, the king re-built every farm-house in Eastern Prussia, which had been burnt by the enemy, except that of the Baron's sister. When we have reflected, that he had at this time but just ended a third bloody war, in which his armies had fought nineteen battles; that his capital had been plundered with every circumstance of barbarous rapacity; that almost every parish in his provinces had been a scene of carnage and devastation; that he had not added a single impost, nor borrowed a single shilling; we may then, with what grace we can, condemn him as a hateful tyrant.—The justice of his title to Silesia has been disputed; but the protestant inhabitants
90LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
of that oppressed province received him as a deliverer. And is there now any Briton who wishes to see it revert to the House of Austria? In Pomerelia be began his career by erecting one hundred and eighty schools, as he himself tells us in a letter to D'Alembert; [note] and the only, subject of regret with men of sense, is that he did not acquire possession of the whole kingdom.”

15

What Lord Gardenstone adds of Frederick, [note] we may with equal truth apply to himself and his improvements; “That he had many faults, we know; but has the reader ever heard of a character without faults?”

Before such merit, all objections fly;
Pritchard's
[note] genteel, and Garrick [note] six feet high.
16

The literary, especially the poetical claims of Gardenstone, do not appear to have been ever sufficiently appreciated. The Scotch have not for a long time past been able to boast of many satirists of note; and they ought to be more careful of the reputation of one who has a better title to the character, than any poet who has appeared beyond the Tweed for half a century past. The want of Scottish writers in this class, is, I am willing to believe, owing to the want in Scotland of occasion for them; and should there ever be a call for a second reformation, I doubt not a new race of Dunbars and Lindsays would speedily arrive to quicken the deadened sense of public virtue and private worth. But Lord Gardenstone has not made the contemporary manners of his own country, the theme of his ridicule. He has drawn his pictures of life, either from general nature, or from the state of society which he had witnessed in his visits to other
POETS — LORD GARDENSTONE.91
kingdoms. Neither have modern Scotsmen, with the exception of Hume [note] and Boswell, of both of whom there is a divided opinion, been the sufferers under his lash.

17

It is true, that with some of the ancient worthies of our history he has made free enough; but it might have been hoped that the time had ere now arrived, when even Scotsmen might bear to hear a distinction drawn between the honest zeal of the Reformers, for the triumph of their religious opinions, and their destroying fury against the numerous monuments of genius and art, with which the monasteries and churches of old were enriched. The following passage on this subject contains some expressions which might well have been spared, but is it not substantially true?

When rampant Harry [note] quarrell'd with the Pope,
And gave his gothic conscience all its scope;
*    *    *    *    *    *    *
At that all-glorious dawning of reform,
Ten thousand volumes perish'd in the storm;
And lest some novice think me too severe,
In their own words their sacred logic hear.
“ Horace [note] ! what need we more than David's metre,
Or can Demosthenes compare with Peter?
Let Euclid's [note] magic in the bonfire roll;
Do rhomboids and right angles save the soul?
Be careful to destroy the book of James,
Substantial virtue that vile papist claims;
Forgetting Paul, he spurns at faith alone,
And bids our saintship by our works be known.
All Cato's [note] virtue was not worth a pin,
And Phocion's [note] exit but a shining sin!”
92LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
Such was the style of those atrocious days,
On which weak bigots lavish all their praise;
Yet we on Omar's madness dare to lay
That loss, twelve Shakespeares
[note] never could repay;
With all their tricks our common sense to blind,
With all their holy frauds to cheat mankind;
The conclave never coin'd a viler lie,
And here plain truth may challenge a reply.
On the Loss of Ancient Literature.
18

It seems, indeed, but too probable, that it is to the bold tone of remark, in which here, as in other places, Lord Gardenstone has indulged on religious or rather ecclesiastical topics, that we must in a great measure ascribe that coldness with which his poetry has been regarded in a country, where the abounding of genuine religion makes it but too easy to raise a prejudice against whoever presumes to draw the pen of satire against the many follies, absurdities, and wickednesses, of which a false piety has been, and still continues to be, the cloak. It must not at the same time be concealed, that much of this coldness is also fairly imputable to the degree of libertinism which distinguishes Lord Gardenstone's amatory effusions; and which is rendered doubly offensive by the reflection that he gave his sanction to their publication, at a period when age might have been expected to correct the pruriency of a youthful imagination.

19

Still, however, he has many redeeming qualities. His opinions of men and things are marked with great justice, and frequent originality; his satire is poignant and witty; and the prevailing tendency of his writings is to inculcate noble and generous sentiments.
POETS — LORD GARDENSTONE.93
A few specimens as they occur, in turning over his
Miscellanies, will shew that this is no unmerited praise. On Good-nature, the third piece in the collection, he presents us with the following sterling maxims.

Endeavour, if you can, to be sedate;
And shun the mad extremes of love and hate:
Censure or praise, be cautious to proclaim,
For all the world are more than half the same.
*    *    *    *    *    *    *
Let this grand maxim in your mind be fix'd,
All mortal characters are oddly mix'd.
The best of men have some substantial fault,
The dullest dunce acts often as be ought!
Thus Job himself was peevish for a time,
And Nero reign'd five years without a crime;
The honest Cato sometimes drank too late,
And Cæsar shed one tear for Pompey's fate.
Since then the heart is seldom long the same,
'Tis but a phantom you can praise or blame.
20

In “The Dignity of Human Nature,” which he ironically styles “a Panegyric upon the world,” he rises at the conclusion into a strain of indignant reflection, which does not only honor to his muse, but shews that, whatever may have been his own failings in this life, he entertained a Christian's hope of the future.

If what the Scriptures teach us were not true,
That virtue shall hereafter reap her due;
If Cato's worth is nothing but a name,
And good and bad are in the grave the same,
94LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
If Shakespeare's [note] intellect be gone to dust,
And keen Voltaire [note] survives but in his bust;
His envied wound if Hampden [note] has forgot,
And Frederick [note] sleeps unconscious why he fought;
If Howard [note] shall not from the silent grave
Survey that happiness his bounty gave;
Nor Hawke [note] review the glorious path he trode,
But moulder with a Swift [note] or Chatham's [note] clod;
Vaunt as you please of Nature's gracious plan,
I'd rather be a pismire, than a man.
This doubt, so terrible to human pride,
Reason's dim rush-light never can decide,
The all-comforting eye of faith alone
Assures our rise to worlds beyond our own.
21

In treating on the Diversities of Life, he thus pleasantly lashes the pedantry and extravagance of Warton, [note] of whom he rather cavalierly remarks, in a note, “He is one of the most popular critics of the present age; and his volumes have been so generally circulated, that a man of sense must find it difficult to kick them out of his way.”

The son of grammar on all these looks down,
He conjugates a verb, declines a noun;
And could he but correct one classic page,
His name descends to every future age.
With him, obscenity becomes divine,
If Horace
[note] chanc'd to pen the precious line:
Supreme dictator in some parish school,
He dreams perhaps that Shakespeare [note] was a fool;
That Tully [note] must be studied ere we speak,
That all true wit is borrow'd from the Greek;
POETS — LORD GARDENSTONE.95
That melody is only to be found
Where dactyls gallop, and spondees drawl round.
22

“That all true wit is borrowed from the Greek.” Lord Gardenstone illustrates this line by the following amusing and unanswerable note.

23

“To attempt to understand poetry without having diligently digested this treatise, (Aristotle's Poeticks,) would be as absurd and impossible, as to pretend to a skill of geometry without having studied Euclid [note] .” Warton's Essay on Pope, vol. i. p. 170. By this remark, we learn that Homer [note] did not “understand poetry,” for as he died many centuries before Aristotle [note] was born, he cannot have perused the said treatise. It is to be feared that Shakespeare [note] knew little of Aristotle; since in one of his most correct plays he introduces Hector quoting him. Now, as it is needless to read any author who does not understand his subject, the admirers of Mr. Warton may perhaps think it advisable to commit these two poets to the flames.

24

“In the same work, vol. i. p. 146, we are told, ‘That he that has well digested these four cantos, (Boileau's [note] Essay,) cannot be said to be ignorant of any important rule of poetry. ’ It is not requisite to add, that these two passages are in the directest contradiction to each other, as well as to common sense. In p. 229, of the same volume, a few very trifling lines in Pope's Rape of the Lock are said to have ‘excelled any thing in Shakespeare or any other author.’—The rest of the book, and especially the dedication, is written in the same style. The author is, in particular, very angry, that the world should have mistaken Dean Swift [note] for a poet; a mistake in which we are likely to continue.”

96LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
25

In lines “On the Character of a Wife,” his lordship has made some atonement for the freedom of his other speculations on the sex, by the following happy picture of the force of conjugal affection in the hour of sickness.

And are you sick? 'Tis then her actions prove,
(No words can paint,) the frenzy of her love.
'Tis then the grandeur of her soul shines forth,
Then first you learn the vastness of her worth;
Your kindest comrades in attendance fail,
For all must weary of a sick man's tale;
But, night and day, she still is at your side,
More soft, more charming, far, than when a bride;
For, though corroding cares her bloom destroy,
Her generous love excites supremer joy.
She watches every motion of your eye,
Your every want impatient to supply.
Affected smiles conceal her inward care,
Hopeless herself, yet checking your despair;
While oft, in spite of all her female art,
A sigh escaping, cuts you to the heart.
How cold mere friendship, when compar'd to this!
Without such women, what were human bliss?
26

Some of his Imitations of Horace next invite our attention. One of Lib. 1. Ode III. is particularly fine. It will remind the reader of the force and sentimental dignity of Dryden; [note] and in case of style is, only inferior when compared with the similar efforts of Pope. [note] It opens with the following tender invocation:

O ship! thou bearer of my better part,
The man whose friendship long has fix'd my heart;
POETS — LORD GARDENSTONE.97
Hear, if thou canst, his absence how I mourn,
And grant, O grant, my friend a safe return;
May Fate prove kind, protect and shelter thee
From all the perils of the raging sea;
Where winds and waves incessant storm and roar,
And thousands hourly sink to rise no more.
27

A natural association of ideas leads the poet to reflect on that daring curiosity, which first prompted the human race to attempt the navigation of the pathless ocean; it is viewed, more poetically than justly, as an innovation upon the plan of Almighty Goodness to “check the quarrels of mankind:” the atrocities committed by the Spaniards in America are deplored; and thence, adverting to the conduct of his own country, the poet bursts out into the following indignant strain of reflection.

Nor let old England, with absurd disdain,
For deeds like these, insult atrocious Spain;
Since, in the task of scourging human kind,
Calm Truth can hardly rank us far behind.
Our monks, like theirs, have lighted many a fire,
Where holy fools were eager to expire;
Like them, we trembled at a tyrant's frown,
Till daring Hampden tore the puppet down.
See! every tie of faith and mercy broke,
Ill-fated Bengal bleed beneath our yoke.
Its ample spoils impel us to renew
The dreadful scenes once acted in Peru.*

* Colonel Alexander Dow, an author of uncommon merit, affirms that between the years 1765 and 1771, the province of Bengal alone had lost five or six millions of inhabitants. Note by Lord G.
98LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
Whatever baseness can degrade mankind,
Whatever Cade
[note] or Catiline [note] design'd;
Whatever outrage Rome's red streets deform'd,
When Sylla [note] rul'd her, or when Bourbon storm'd;
Whatever Timor did to win a throne,
Or faith-defending Harry [note] would have done;
All seems as nothing in these polish'd times,
Which ev'n our sons can ne'er eclipse in crimes.
But soon the hapless Indian saw repaid
The wrongs of those who chas'd him from his shade;
A new disease invades the fount of joy,
And scorching suns the tyrant race destroy.
With all the riches Potosi can boast,
How few return from that polluted coast!
The planter shrivels in the prime of life,
The injur'd negro aims his deadly knife;
Here, while a tertian desolates around,
And pain's last pangs poor human pride confound;
Lo! there contending elements conspire,
Each black cloud bursting in a sheet of fire;
And earth and ocean, as dissolving, rend,
While guilty cities down the gulph descend.
28

The passage which follows is prophetic; it is a literal description of that scene of retribution which we have lately seen acted in St. Domingo.

And sure, since Heaven is just, the western skies
Shall see e'er long some Spartacus
[note] arise;
To bid our slaves the Christian yoke disown,
And seize the land they labour as their own.
Behold the Hero burst oppression's bands,
The blood of ruffians reeking on his hands;
POETS — LORD GARDENSTONE.99
Hark! how he echoes freedom's honour'd name,
And boasts how victory vindicates his claim.
See round their chief the jetty nation throngs,
What horrid vengeance answers all their wrongs.
Extermination steeps the trembling shore,
Europa's robbers lift the lash no more;
Vindictive Justice sweeps the race away
Our toil of ages perish'd in a day.
29

In the conclusion, the poet takes advantage of the progress which discovery has made since the days of the Roman satirist, [note] to introduce some new and striking illustrations into his imitation of that satirist's well-known description of the insatiable nature of human ambition. The invention of the diving bell, of electric conductors, of balloons, &c. are all appropriately alluded to.

Nothing so wild which man will fear to try;
From pole to pole in search of gold we fly;
Nor ev'n contented to surround the globe,
Remotest ocean of her spoils we rob;
Fearless we range below her gloomy deeps,
Where the keen shark through purple slaughter sweeps.
And leaving eagles in their flight behind,
We soar above them on the swelling wind;
We teach resistless lightning where to fly,
Nor dread to drown the thunders of the sky;
We tell cold Saturn's distance from the sun;
We count what orbs around his centre run;
We measure all the skies: some air balloon
One day, who knows, may land us in the moon;
Where, but a while ago, we tried our skill
To trace the height of every knoll and hill.
100LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
Our daring crimes the deity offend,
Well might his thunder on our heads descend;
Our folly yet inclines him to forgive
The judge of Nature pities, and we live.
30

In “The Newspaper, or a Peep at the Literary World,” and in “Sketches of celebrated characters, ancient and modern,” lord Gardenstone has ventured upon a wide range of personal satire. These pieces must have been among the latest of his poetical productions, for there are topics adverted to which did not occur till he had been long on the bench; such as Dodd's [note] forgery, and the case of Woodfall [note] for publishing the letter of Junius. [note] Where so many shafts are thrown, many must, in the ordinary course of human fallibility, have been directed amiss; but it will in general be found, that he has appreciated as justly as he has satirized severely. Of Dr. Johnson, [note] and his friend Boswell,
(Ah! Bozzy, Bozzy, shan't we see
Some wooden vacancy for thee,)
and also of Hume, [note] he speaks in terms, which are much at variance with the opinion which an impartial posterity has passed upon them. But in such passages as the following, the reader will recognize a spirit of discrimination, and a power of drawing character, which might with ease have founded a second Dunciad.

Read Burke's [note] eternal letter to an end,
Or crack-brain'd Boswell on his tour attend;
Pope [note] buried in the mire of Warton's [note] skull,
So trite, perplex'd, impertinent, and dull;
POETS — LORD GARDENSTONE.101
Or Warburton's [note] “Divine Legation” bore,
And all the “Sacred” scenes of Hannah More;
[note]
Those letters Lady Wortley [note] never wrote,
Or Craven's [note] scrawls, so innocent of thought,
Or Joseph Marshall's [note] jaunt, where, by the by,
Through four thick volumes, every word's a lie;*
Or modest Bellamy's [note] important tale,
So archly fitted for a Bagnio sale,
Where the pert harlot, spouting foolish plays,
In place of infamy, demands our praise;
Or honest Mirabeau's [note] Historick Spy,
To which a halter only should reply;
Or poor Rousseau's
[note] unfortunate detail
Of all that Bedlam blushes to unveil.†
Those five portentous tomes about a fiddle
Nor Oedipus nor Hawkins [note] could unriddle;
Or the bright anthems of our birth-day bard, [note]
If yet one verse the barber's tongs have spar'd;
Piozzi's [note] chat, the novelists of Lane,
That paragon of peerage, Lady Vane [note]
Or Anna Yearsley's [note] admirable note,
Sweet as the warbling of a screech-owl's throat.†

* No such person ever existed. Note by Lord G.
† See his Confessions, in four or five volumes. ib.
† This is the Bristol Milkwoman. Her reception justifies the remark, that “Wonder, usually accompanied by a bad taste, looks out only for what is uncommon, and if a work comes abroad under the name of a Thresher,
[note] a Bricklayer, [note] or a Lord, it is sure to be eagerly sought after by all the Millions.” Introduction to Sheridan's [note] Life of Swift. Note by Lord G.
The answer of a late eccentric nobleman, on being
102LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
Then with contemptuous pity shall you say,
How much good paper has been cast away
That paper which (a far superior use)
Might well have serv'd our honest Mother Goose,
Or Bunyan's
[note] progress in the world to come,
The Seven Wise Masters, Whitfield, [note] and Tom Thumb.
31

It would be easy to add to the quotations which have been made, by others of, perhaps, superior merit, but enough has been extracted to shew that the poetry of Lord Gardenstone has ill-deserved that neglect which it has been its misfortune to experience. A high poetical station is not besought for him; but he can surely not be refused the humble one which he claims for himself in the following lines, in his poem on the Diversities of Human Life.

'Tis possible the reader may inquire
To what distinction I, myself, aspire;
Let songsters, of superior parts to mine,
Paint Rodney
[note] rushing through the Gallic line;
Or Elliot [note] earning the great Prussian's [note] praise,
While Calpe's sky descended in a blaze.
(A scene compar'd to which, fam'd Ilion's fall
Bore but the semblance of a school-boy's brawl.)
To pomp or pathos I make no pretence,
But range in the broad path of common sense,

asked to subscribe for this lady's poems, was as appropriate as any thing that was ever said of them. “You may put me down for five guineas, but let it be five pounds for her poverty, and five shillings for her poetry.”
POETS — LORD GARDENSTONE.103
Nor even burrow in the dark sublime,
Nor cramp a thought by scantiness of rhyme;
And if, by turns, contemptuous and severe,
Candour must own the verses are sincere;
Nor at a fool's command politely grieve,
Nor vindicate a system none believe;*
Nor whet a pimp, nor serve a tyrant's end,
Nor gain their sire a farthing or a friend.
J. G.


* Such as Popery, in “The Hind and the Panther,” or Optimism, in an “Essay on Man.” The preceding line of this couplet refers to the Dedication of Dryden's [note] “Eleonora.” Note by Lord G.