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pledged for the completion of his poetical history, it is to be regretted that he should have begun at this advanced period of life to indulge the prospect of an undertaking which he never could complete.
In 1782 he took an active part in the Chattertonian controversy, by publishing “ An Enquiry into the authenticity of the Poeins attributed to Thomas Rowley.” He had already introduced the question into his history, and now more decidedly gave his opinion that these poems were the fabrication of Chatterton. The same year he published his verses “ on sir Joshua Reynolds's painted window in New college chapel.” This produced a letter to him from sir Joshua, in which, with a pardonable vanity, if it at all deserve that appellation, he expresses a wish that his name had appeared in the verses. In a second edition Warton complied with a wish so flattering to himself, by implying the duration of his poetry, and REYNOLDS was substituted for the word ARTIST.
In this year also he was presented by his college to the donative of Hill Farrance, in Somersetshire; and about the same time became a member of the literary club, composed of those friends of Dr. Johnson whose conversations form so interesting a part of his Life by Boswell. In 1785 he was chosen Camden professor of history on the resignation of Dr. (now sir William) Scott. By the letters added to Wooll's life of his brother, we find that our author was making interest for the professorship of modern history in 1768, when Vivian was preferred. Warburton on this occasion sent him a letter complimenting him on the heroic manner in which he bore bis disappointment, and informing him, as a piece of consolation, that Vivian had an ulcer in his bladder which was likely to prove fatal in a short time!-As Camden professor, he delivered an inaugural lecture, ingenious, learned, and full of promise; but, says his biographer, “.he suffered the rostrum to grow cold while it was in his possession.” .
The office of poet laureate was accepted by him this year, as it was offered at the express desire of his majesty, and be filled it with credit to himself and to the place. Whitebead, his immediate predecessor, had the misfortune to succeed Cibber, and could with difficulty make the public look seriously on the periodical labours of the laureate, yet by perseverance he contrived to restore some degree of respect to the office. Warton succeeded yet betVOL. XXXI.
ter by varying the accustomed modes of address, and by recalling the mind to gothic periods, and splendid events. The facetious authors, indeed, of the “ Probationary (des” (a set of political satires) took some freedoms with his name, but they seemed to be aware that another Cibber would have suited their purpose better; and Warton, who possessed a large share of humour, and a quick sense of ridicule, was not to be offended because he had for once been the 's occasion of wit in other men *.”
His last publication was an edition of the “ Juvenile Poems of Milton," with notes, the object of which was " to explain his author's allusions, to illustrate, or to vindicate his beauties, to point out his imitations, both of others and of himself, to elucidate his obsolete diction, and by the adduction and juxtaposition of parallels gleaned both from his poetry and prose, to ascertain his favourite words, and to shew the peculiarities of his phraseology." The first edition of this work appeared in 1785, and the second in 1791, a short time after his death. It appears that he had prepared the alterations and additions for the press some time before. It was indeed ready for the press in 1789, and probably begun about that time, but was not completed until after his death, when the task of correcting the sheets devolved upon his brother. His intention was to extend his plan to a second volume, containing the “Paradise Regained,” and “ Sampson Agonistes ;' and he left notes on both. He had the proof sheets of the first edition printed only on one side, which he carefully bound. They are still extant, and demonstrate what pains he took in avoiding errors, and altering expressions which appeared on a second review to be weak or improper. The second edition of Milton was enriched by Dr. Charles Burney's learned remarks on the Greek verses, and by some observations on the other poems by Warburton, which were communicated to the editor by Dr. Hurd. At the time of our author's death a new edition of his Poems was also preparing for publication.
* We have bis brother's authority the laugh of the Probationary Odes; that “ he always heartily joined in the for a man more devoid of envy, anger, laugh, and applauded the exquisite wit and ill-nature, never existed. So sweet and bumour that appeared in many of was his temper, so remote from pethose original satires.” Mr. Bowles's dantry and all affectation was his conevidence may be cited as more impas. duct, that when 'even Ritson's scurtial, and as affording the testimony of rilous abuse came out, in which he as. an exeellent judge, to the character of serted that his back was "broad enough. Warton. “I can say, being at that and his heart hard enough,” to bear time a scholar of Trinity college, that any thing Ritson could lay on it, he the laureate, who did the greatest ho- only said, with his usual smile, “A nour to his station from his real poetic black-letter'd dog, sir !"-Bowles's edi. cal abilities, did most heartily join in tion of Pope's works, VI. 325.
His death was somewhat sudden. Until his sisty-second year he enjoyed vigorous and uninterrupted health. On being seized with the gout he went to Bath, from which he returned recovered, in his own opinion, but it was evident to his friends that bis constitution had received a fatal shock. On Thursday, May 20, 1790, he passed the evening in the Common-room, and was for some time more cheerful than usual. Between ten and eleven o'clock he was suddenly seized with a paralytic stroke, and expired next day about two o'clock. On the 27th his remains were interred in the anti-chapel of Trinity college, with the highest academical honours; the ceremony being attended not only by the members of his own college, but by the vice-chancellor, heads of houses, and proctors. His grave is marked by a plain inscription, which enumerates his preferments, with his age and the date of his death.
To these particulars, some of which have been taken from Mr. Mant's Life of Warton prefixed to an edition of his Poems published in 1802, it may now be added on another authority, that from April 1755 to April 1774, he served the curacy of Woodstock, except during the long vacations; and although his pulpit oratory does not appear to have ever entitled him to particular notice, many are still alive who speak of him with more regard and affection than of any person who ever officiated there *.
Mr. Warton's personal character has been drawn at great length by Mr. Mant, and seems to have no defects but what are incident to men who have passed their days in retirement from polished life. A few peculiarities are recorded which might perhaps have been omitted without injury to the portrait. Some of them seem to be given upon doubtful authority, and others are not, strictly speaking, characteristic, because not habitual, or if habitual, are too insignificant for notice. It has been said, however, that Mr. Warton was a lover of low company, a more serious charge, if it could be substantiated. But what low company means is not always very obvious. It is not as'serted that Warton disgraced his character by a constant
* Baldwin's Literary Journal, 1803, Warton, and evidently written by one where are some other anecdotes and who knew him well. characteristics very honourable to Mr. .
association with such ; and that he should have occasionally amused himself with the manners and conversation of humble tradesmen, mechanics, or peasants, was surely no great crime in one whose researches imposed in some degree the necessity of studying mankind in all ranks, and who, in the illustration of our ancient poets, had evidently profited by becoming acquainted with the conversation of the modern vulgar.
In literary company he is said to have been rather silent, but this, his surviving friends can recollect, was only where the company consisted of a majority of strangers ; and a man who has a reputation to guard will not lightly enter into conversation before he knows something of those with whom he is to converse. In the company of his friends, among whom he could reckon the learned, the polite, and the gay, nó man was more communicative, more social in his habits and conversation, or descended ñore frequently from the grave interchange of sentiment to a mere play of wit.
His temper was habitually calm. His disposition gentle, friendly, and forgiving. His resentments, where he could be supposed to have any, were expressed rather in the language of jocularity than anger. Mr. Mant has given as à report, that Dr. Johnson said of Warton, “he was the only man of genius that he knew without a heart.” But it is highly improbable that Johnson, who loved and practised truth and justice, should say this of one with whom he had exchanged so many acts of personal and literary friendship. It is to be regretted, indeed, that towards the end of Johnson's life, there was a coolness between him and the Wartons; but if it be true that he wept on the recollection of their past friendship, it is very unlikely that he would have characterised Mr. Warton in the manner reported. Whatever was the cause of the abatement of their intimacy, Mr. Warton discovered no resentment, when he communicated so many pleasing anecdotes of Johnson to Mr. Boswell, nor when he came to discuss the merits of Milton in opposition to the opinions of that eminent critic. Dr. Warton, indeed, as may be seen in his notes on Pope, mixed somewhat more asperity with his review of Joboson's sentiments.
Instances of Warton's tenderness of heart, affectionate regard for children, and general humanity, have been ac- cumulated by all who knew him. Nor is this wonderful,
for he knew nothing of one quality which ever keeps the heart shut. He had no avarice, no ambition to acquire the superiority which wealth is supposed to confer. For many years he lived on his maintenance from college, and from the profits of a small living, with the occasional fruits of his labour as a teacher or as a writer. It cannot be doubted that as he had been tutor to the son of the prime-minister (lord North), and to the sons of other persons of rank, he might reasonably have expected higher preferment. But it happens with preferment more generally than the world suspects, that what is not asked is not given. Warton had a niind above servile submission, yet he would have asked where asking is a matter of course, had not his contented indolence, or perhaps the dread of a refusal, induced him to sit down with the emoluments which cost neither trouble nor anxiety. What he got by his writings could not be much. However excellent in themselves, they were not calculated for quick and extensive sale, and it is said he sold the copy-right of his “ History of Poetry,” for less than four hundred pounds.
In the exercise of his profession as a divine, Mr. Mant has not heard that he was much distinguished. He went through the routine of parochial duty in a respectful manper; but a hurried mode of speaking, parıly owing to habit and partly to a natural impediment, prevented his being heard with advantage *. It is a inore serious objection, that he has, particularly in his notes on Milton, expressed opinions on religious topics, the consequence of which he had not deliberately considered. He hated Puritans and Calvinists, but does not seem to have understood very clearly that his own church, and every pure church, has many doctrines in common with them. His opinions on Psalmody, and on the observation of Sunday, are particularly objectionable.
As a contributor to the literature of his country, few men stand bigber than Warton. He was the first who taught the true inethod of acquiring a taste for the excellencies of Qur ancient poets, and of rescuing their writings from ohscurity and oblivion. In this respect he is the father of the school of commentators, and if some have, in certain instances, excelled their master, they ought to recollect to
* Two Serinons which he preachei repeatedly are in our possession, but neither writ:en by binnself. One is a
printre Sermon for the Martyrdom, curiously abriilged; the other is in an old band, probably his father's.