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ranked among scarce books *. A more scarce work, however, is bis Inscriptionum Romanarum Metricarum Delectus, 4to, which ought to have been noticed under the year 1758. The design of this collection was to present the reader with some of the best Roman epigrams and inscriptions, taken from the Elegantiæ antiquorum marmorum, from Mazochius, Smetius, Gruterus, and other learned men. It contains, likewise, a few modern epigrams, one by Dr. Jortin, and five by himself, on the model of the antique, the whole illustrated with various readings and notes.
About the year 1760 he wrote, for the Biographia Britannica, the Life of Sir Thomas Pope, which he republished in 8vo 1772, and again in 1780, with very considerable additions and improvements: and in 1761, he published the Life and Literary Remains of Dr. Bathurst. In the same year, and in 1762, he contributed to the Oxford collections, verses on the royal marriage, and on the birth of the prince of Wales, and an ode eutitled the Complaint of Cherwell, under the name of John Chichester, brother to the earl of Donegal. His next publication was the Oxford Sausage, or Select Pieces, written by the most celebrated Wits of the University of Oxford. The preface and several of the poems are undoubtedly his, and the latter are authenticated by his adding them afterwards to his avowed productions. In 1766, he superintended an edition from the Clarendon press of Cephalus' Anthology, to which he prefixed a very curious and learned preface. In this he announced his edition of Theocritus, which made its appearance in two volumes 4to, 1770, a most correct and splendid, although not absolutely faultless, work, that extended his fame to the continent.
In 1767 he took his degree of B. D. and in 1771 was elected a fellow of the Antiquarian Society: in October of the same year he was instituted to the small living of Kiddington, in Oxfordshire, on the presentation of George Henry, earl of Litchfield, then chancellor of the university, a nobleman whose memory he afterwards honoured by an epitaph.
In 1774 he published the first volume of his History of English Poetry, the most important of all his works, and to the completion of which the studies of his wbole life appear to have been bent. How much it is to be regretted that he did not live to complete his plan, every student in ancient literature must be deeply sensible. He intended to have carried the history down to the cominencement of the eighteenth century. A second volume accordingly appeared in 1778, and a third in 1781, after which he probably relaxed from his pursuit, as at the period of his death in 1790, a few sheets oply of the fourth volume were printed, and no part left in a state for printing. His original intention was to have comprised the whole in two or three volumes, but it is now evident, and he probably soon became aware, that five would have scarcely been sufficient, if he continued to write on the same scale, and to deviate occasionally into notices of manners, laws, customs, &c. that had either a remote or an immediate connection with his principal subjects: what his reasons were for discontinuing his labours cannot now be ascertained. It is well known to every writer that a work of
A new edition was published in 1806, by Mr. Cooke of Oxford, with the original cuts. C. 5 This information is from Mr. Mant's life. Lord Donegal was, however, one of Mr. Warton's pupils, Shenstone had a visit from both at the Leasowes in the summer of 1758. Shenstone's Letters. On these great occasions of academical gratulations, our author sometimes wrote verses for those who could not write for themselves. Ç.
great magnitude requires temporary relaxation, or a change of employment, and may admit of both without injury: but he might probably find that it was now less easy to return with spirit to bis magnum opus, tban in the days of more vigour and activity. It is certain that he wished the public to think that he was making his usual progress, for in 1785, when be publisbed Milton's Juvenile Poems, he announced the speedy publication of the fourth volume of the bistory, of which from that time to his death ten sheets only were finished. His brother, Dr. Joseph, was long supposed to be engaged in completing this fourth volume. In one of his letters lately published by Mr. Wooll, and dated 1792, he says, “At any leisure I get busied in finishing the last volume of Mr. Warton's History of Poetry, which I have engaged to do-for the booksellers are clamorous to have the book finished (though the ground I am to go over is so beaten) that it may be a complete work." Yet ou his death in 1800 it did not appear that he bad made any progress
Mr. Warton's biograpber has traced the origin of this work to Pope, wbo, according to Ruffhead, bad sketched a plan of a history of poetry, dividing the poets into classes or schools, but Ruffhead's list of poets is grossly erroneous. Gray, however, Mr. Mason informs us, bad meditated a history of English poetry, in which Mason was to assist him. Their design was to introduce specimens of the Provençal poetry, and of the Scaldic, British, and Saxon, as preliminary to what first deserved to be called English poetry, abont the time of Chaucer, from whence their history, properly so called, was to commence. Gray, bowever, was deterred by the magnitude of the underiaking, and being informed that Warton was employed on a similar design, more readily relinquished his own.
Such is Mr. Mant's account, who adds (in p. cxxvi.) that. Warton “judiciously preferred the plan on which he bad proceeded, to that proposed by Pope, Gray and Mason.” It appears to me, however, that Warton had made considerable progress on his own plan, before he knew any thing of Gray's, and that when he heard of the latter, and perhaps at the same time of its being relinquished, he thought proper, which he might then do without indelicacy, to apply to Gray through the medium of Dr. Hurd, requesting that he would communicate any fragments, or sketches of his design. Mr. Gray, in answer to this application, sent the following letter.
“ 15th April 1770, Pembroke Hall. “Our friend Dr. Hurd baving long ago desired me in your name to communicate any fragments, or sketches of a design I once had to give a bistory of English poetry, you may well think me rude or negligent, when you see me hesitating for so many months before I comply with your request, and yet (believe me) few of your friends have been better pleased than I to find this subject (surely neither unentertaining nor unuseful) had fallen into hands so likely to do it justice : few have felt a higher esteem for your talents, your taste and industry: in truth the only cause of my delay bas been a sort of diffidence, that would not let me send you any thing so short, so sight, and so imperfect, as the few materials I had begun to collect, or the observations I had made on them. A sketch of the division and arrangement of the subjects, however, I venture to transcribe, and would wish to know whether it corresponds in any thing with your own plan, for I am told your first volume is already in the press.
“ INTRODUCTION.-On the poetry of the Galic (or Celtic) nations, as far back as it can be traced.
"“On that of the Goths: its introduction into these islands by the Saxons and Danes, and its duration. On the origin of rhyme among the Franks, the Saxons, and Provençaux: some account of the Latin rhyming poetry from its early origin down to the 15th century.
• P. 1.- On the school of Provence, which rose about the year 1100, and was soon followed by the French and Italians: their heroic poetry, or romances in verse, allegories, fabliaux, syrvientes, comedies, farces, canzoni, scunets, balades, madrigals, sestines, &c. Of their imitators the French, and of the first Italian school (commonly called the Sicilian) about the year 1200, brought to perfection by Dante, Petrarch, Boccace, and others.
“ State of poetry in England from the Conquest (1066) or rather from Henry II's time (1154) to the reign of Edward the 3rd (1327).
“P. 2.--On Chaucer, who first introduced the manner of the Provençaux, improved by the Italians, into our country: his character and merits at large; the different kinds in wlrich he excelled. Gower, Occlave, Lydgate, Hawes, G. Douglas, Lindsay, Bellenden, Dunbar, &c.
“P. 3.-- Second Italian school (of Ariosto, Tasso, &c.) an improvement on the first, occasioned by the revival of letters in the end of the 15th century. The lyric poetry of this and the former age introduced from Italy by lord Surrey, sir T. Wyat, Bryan, lord Vaus, &c. in the beginning of the 16th century.
“ Spenser, his character, subject of his poem allegoric and romantic, of Provencal invention : but his manner of creating it borrowed from the second Italian school. Drayton, Fairfax, Phin. Fletcher, Golding, Phaer, &c. this school ends in Milton.
“ A third Italian school, full of conceit, begun in Q. Elizabeth's reign, continued under James, and Charles the first, by Donne, Crashaw, Cleveland, carried to its height by Cowley, and ends perbaps in Sprat.
P. 4.--School of France, introduced after the Restoration. Waller, Dryden, Addison, Prior and Pope, which has continued down to our own times.
“ You will observe that my idea was in some measure taken from a scribbled paper of Pope, of which (I believe) you have a copy. You will also see that I have excluded dramatic poetry entirely, which if you have taken in, it will at least double the bulk and labour of your book.”
Mr. Mant, very naturally desirous of accounting for Warton's having deviated from Gray's plan, transcribes a part of the preface to the bistory. Perhaps, however, the reader will be better pleased with Mr. Warton's answer to the above letter, which has never yet appeared, and is now transcribed from his own copy.
6 This letter concludes with requesting the favour of some attention to a foreign young gentleman, then entered of one of the colleges. Mr. Mant, who is indebted to the Gentleman's Magazine for the copy he has given, adds, “There seems no reason to doubt of its genuineness, though there may be to question who it was that had the power or right to communicate it.” How it came into thg Magazine during Mr. Warton's life-time, I know not. The original, however, is now in my possession, with Wartog's answer. C.