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whom they are indebted for directing them to the paths of research. Of Warton it may be said, as of Addison, “He is now despised by some who perhaps would never have seen his defects, but by the lights which he afforded them.” His erudition was extensive, and his industry must bave been at one time incessant. The references in his History of Poetry only, indicate a course of various reading, collation, and transcription, to which the common life of man seems insufficient. He was one of those scholars who have happily rescued the study of antiquities from the reproaches of the frivolous or indolent. Amidst the most rugged tracks of ancient lore, he produces cultivated spots, Aowery paths, and gay prospects. Many of the digressions that have been censured in his history, appear to have been contrived for this purpose; and the relief which his own mind demanded, he thought would not be unacceptable to his fellow-travellers.
To the industry which he employed in all his literary undertakings, there can be no doubt he was indebted for much of that placid temper and contentment which distinguished him as a resident member of the university. The miseries of indolence are known only to those who have no regular pursuit, nothing in view, however easy or arduous, nothing by which time may be shortened by occupation, and occupation rendered easy by habit. To all this waste of time and talent Warton was a stranger. During the long vacation, indeed, he generally resided with his brother at Winchester, but even this was a change of place rather than of occupation. There he found librarieś, scholars, and critics, and could still indulge his delight in the “ cloysters pale," " the tapered choir," and " sequester'd isles of the deep dome;" and there, as well as at home, he continued his researches, and enjoyed solitude or society in such proportions as suited his immediate inclination. * Yet as he pursued an untried path, and was the founder of his own studies, it cannot be a matter of great surprise, if he failed in conducting them with due method. To this it was owing that the emendations and additions to his first and second volumes are so numerous, as to bave been made the ground of a serious charge against his diligence and accuracy. But had he lived to complete the work, he could have no doubt offered such excuses as must have been readily accepted by every reflecting mind. If we admit the magnitude of the undertaking, which evidently exceeded his own idea when he fondly hoped that it might have been finished in two or three volumes; if we consider the vast number of books he had to consult for matters apparently trifling, but really important; that he had the duties of a clergyman and tutor to perform while engaged on this work, and above all, that his friends were assisting him, often too late, with additional illustrations or references, it will not appear highly censurable that he dismissed his volumes capable of improvement. From his own copy of the first volume of bis history, and of his edi. tion of Milton, both now before is, it appears that he corrected with fastidious care, and was extremely anxious to render his style what we now find it, perspicuous, vigorous, and occasionally ornamented. His corrections are often written in an indistinct hand, and this perhaps occasioned fresh errors, which he had not an opportunity to correct; but with all its faults, this history will ever remain a monument of learning, taste, and judgment, such as few. men in any nation have been able to produce.
His poetry, as well as that of his brother, has been the occasion of some difference of opinion among the critics;' and the school of Warton, as it is called, has not of late. been always mentioned with the respect it deserves. Among the characteristics of our author's poetry, however, his style may be considered as manly and energetic, but seldom varied by the graces of simplicity. His habits of thought led him to commence all his poems in a style pompous and swelling; his ideas often ran on the imaginary days of Gothic grandeur and mighty achievement, and where such subjects were to be treated, as in his “ Triumph of Isis," and in his “ Laureat Odes," no man could have cloathed them in language more appropriate.
The “ Triumph of Isis” was written in his twenty-first year, and exhibits the same beauties and faults which are io be found in his more mature productions. Among these last, is a redundancy of epithet which is more frequently a proof of labour than of taste. The “ Pleasures of Melancholy" appears to be a more genuine specimen of early talent. He was only in his seventeenth year, when his mind was so richly stored with striking and elegant imagery.
In general he seems to have taken Milton for his model, and throughout his poems we find expressions borrowed with as much freedom from Milton, as he has proved that
Milton borrowed from others. One piece only, 6 Newmarket,” is an imitation of Pope, and is certainly one of the finest satires in our language. In this he has not only acopted the versification of Pope, and emulated his wit and point, but many of his lines are parodies on what he recollected in Pope's Satires. This freedom of borrowing, however, seems so generally allowed, that it can form no higher objection against Warton than against Pope, Gray, and others of acknowledged eminence. We cannot be surprized that the memory of such a student as Warton should be familiar with the choicest language of poetry, and that he should often adopt it unconscious of its being the property of another. The frequent use of alliteration is a more striking defect; but perhaps these are strictures which ought not to interfere with the general merit of Warton as a poet of original genius. His descriptive pieces, had he written nothing else, would have proved his claim to that title. Nothing can be more natural, just, or delightful than his pictures of rural life. The “First of April” and the “ Approach of Summer” have seldom been rivalled, and cannot perhaps be exceeded. The only objection which some critics have started is, that his descriptions are not varied by reflection. He gives an exquisite landscape, but does not always express the feelings it creates. His brother, speaking of Thomson, observes that the unexpected insertion of reflections “imparts to us the same pleasure that we feel, when, in wandering through a wilderness or grove, we suddenly behold in the turning of the walk a statue of some Virtue or Muse." Yet in Warton's descriptive poetry, it is no small merit to have
produced so much effect, and so many exquisite pictures , without this aid.
“The Suicide" perhaps deserves a yet higher character, rising to the sublime by gradations which speak to every imagination. It bas indeed been objected that it is imperfect, and too allegorical. It appeals, however, so forcibly to the heart, awakens so many important reflections, and contains so happy a mixture of terror and consolation, that it seems difficult to lay it down without unmixed admiration. The “ Crusade," and the “ Grave of Arthur,” are likewise specimens of genuine poetical taste acting on materials that are difficult to manage. Both in invention and execution these odes may rank among the finest of their species in our language.
Warton has afforded many proofs of an exquisite relish for humour in his “ Panegyric on Oxford Ale,” the Progress of Discontent," and other pieces classed under that denomination. His success in these productions leads once more to the remark that few men have combined so many qualities of mind, a taste for the sublime and the pathetic, the gay and humorous, the pursuits of the antiquary, and the pleasures of amusement, the labours of research, and the play of imagination. Upon the whole, it may be allowed that, as a poet, he is original, various, and elegant, but that in most of his pieces he discovers the taste that results from a studied train of thought, rather than the wild and enraptured strains that arise from passion, inspired on the moment, ungovernable in their progress, and grand even in their wanderings. Still he deserves to be classed among the revivers of genuine poetry, by preferring “ fiction and fancy, picturesque description, and romantic imagery,” to “ wit and elegance, sentiment and satire, sparkling couplets, and pointed periods.” ?,
WARTON (JOSEPH), an elegant scholar, poet, and critic, brother to the preceding, was born at the house of his maternal grandfather, the rev. Joseph Richardson, rector of Dunsford, in 1722. Except for a very short time that he was at New-college school, he was educated by his father until he arrived at his fourteenth year. He was then admitted on the foundation of Winchester-college, under the care of the venerable Dr. Sandby, at that time the head of the school, and afterwards chancellor of Norwich. He had not been long at this excellent seminary before he exhibited considerable intellectual powers, and a laudable ambition to outstrip the common process of education. Collins, the poet, was one of his school-fellows, and in conjunction with him and another boy, young Warton sént three poetical pieces to the Gentleman's Magazine, of such merit as to be highly praised in that miscellany, but not, as his biographer supposes, by Dr. Johnson. A letter also to his sister, which Mr. Wooll has printed, exbibits very extraordinary proofs of fancy and observation in one so young.
In September 1740, being superannuated according to the laws of the school, he was removed from Winchester, and having no opportunity of a vacancy at New-college,
| Mant's Life of Warton.-English Poets, 21 vols. 1910,
he went to Oriel. Here he applied to his studies, not only with diligence, but with that true taste for what is valuable, which rendered the finer discriminations of criticism habitual to his mind. During his leisure hours he composed several of his poems, among which his biographer enumerates “ The Enthusiast, or the Lover of Nature," “ The Dying Indian," and a prose satire entitled " Ranelagh-house." He appears likewise to have sketched an allegorical work of a more elaborate kind, which he did not find time or inclination to complete. On taking his bachelor's degree in 1744, he was ordained to his father's curacy at Basingstoke, and officiated in that church till February 1746; be next removed to the duty of Chelsea, whence, in order to complete his recovery from the smallpox, he went to Chobham.
About this time he had becoine a correspondent in Dodsley's Museum, to which he contributed, as appears by his copy of that work now before us, “ Superstition," an Ode, dated Chelsea, April 1746, and stanzas written “on taking the air after a long illness.” In the preceding year, as noticed in his brother's life, he published by subscription, a voluine of his father's poems, partly to do honour to his memory, but principally with the laudable purpose of paying what debts he left behind him, and of raising ä little fund for himself and family; and the correspondence Wooll has published, shows with what prudence the two brothers husbanded their scanty provision, and with what affection they endeavoured to support and cheer each other while at school and college.
Owing to some disagreement with the parishioners of Chelsea, which had taken place before he left that curacy, he accepted the duty of Chawton and Droxford, but after a few months returned to Basingsloke. In 1747-8 he was presented by the duke of Bolton to the rectory of Winslade, and as this, although a living of small produce, was probably considered by him as the earnest of more valuable preferment, he immediately married Miss Daman of tbat neighbourhood, to whom, his biographer informs us, he had been for some time most enthusiastically attached, In 1747, according to Mr. Wooll's account, he had published a volume of Odes, in conjunction with Collins, but on consulting the literary registers of the time, it appears that each published a volume of poems in 1746, and in the same month. It cannot now be ascertained what degree