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But vain are all his purposed schemes,
When fiery Sirius blasts the plain,
As springs of old renown'd, thy name,
BORN 1735—DIED 1779.
Tuis pleasing versifier was a prodigious favourite with the IRWAN'S VALE. FAREWELL the fields of Irwan's vale,
gentle and courteous readers of the last generation. He
was their Barry Cornwall and Miss Landon united. Langhorne was the son of a beneficed clergyman, and was
born in Westmoreland. He was a popular preacher, an amiable man, and an elegant scholar, who gave himself up to literature with all his heart, and with all the genius he possessed. Peace to the memory of all such ! they are good men in their day
My infant years where Fancy led, And soothed me with the western gale,
Her wild dreams waving round my head, While the blithe blackbird told his tale. Farewell the fields of Irwan's vale !
The primrose on the valley's side,
The green thyme on the mountain's head, The wanton rose, the daisy pied,
The wilding's blossom blushing red ; No longer I their sweets inhale. Farewell the fields of Irwan's vale !
How oft, within yon vacant shade,
Has evening closed my careless eye! How oft, along those banks I've stray'd,
And watch'd the wave that wander'd by ; Full long their loss shall I bewail. Farewell the fields of Irwan's vale !
Yet still, within yon vacant grove,
To mark the close of parting day;
And watch the wave that winds away ;
BORN 1752-DIED 1770.
I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous boy,
This highly-gifted and unfortunate youth was the posthu.
mous child of the master of a free-school in Bristol. Of his early childhood nothing wonderful is related. His mother taught him to read from an old black-letter Bible, and at eight years old he went to a charity-school, where he acquired some knowledge of writing and arithmetic. From his tenth year he discovered a strong passion for reading. The silent progress of Chatterton's marvellous mind can
only be found in its premature fruits, for no friendly or observant eye marked its development. The story of Chatterton, and of many poets, proves how much natural genius will predominate over situation. Chatterton began to write verses at twelve years old, and at sixteen, being by that time apprenticed to a scrivener, he first attracted that notice which laid the foundation of his fame and of his misfortunes. The new bridge of Bristol was to be opened, and he sent to a journal of that city a paper entitled “ An account of the Monks first passing over the Old Bridge, taken from an ancient MS." It is probable that at this time Chatterton intended no fraud; temptation was afterwards thrown upon him. This account of the procession of the monks, which excited much curiosity, was traced to the friendless boy, and he was interrogated, it is said with threats, about the MSS, he possessed, Pride, shame, and interest, were thus combined to subvert his integrity. The possessor of a store of valuable an
cient MSS. was a person of more consequence with the antiquaries and magnates of Bristol, than an unknown and uneducated boy, however great might be his genius. After some hesitation, Chatterton said he had found this particular paper in his mother's house. The first step thus taken, the rest was easy. The “ Cofre of Maister Canynge," a rich Bristol merchant, who, in the reign of Edward IV., had rebuilt the church of St Mary Redcliffe, was the alleged repository of many MSS. A chest, or “ cofre," of this description had really been kept in the muniment-room of St Mary's, from which the father of Chatterton had been allowed to take old parchments to cover the copy-books of his scholars. Young Chatterton, succeeding in his first, and certainly unpremeditated fraud, and having suspicion so rudely fastened on him, now asserted that he possessed many ancient poems, written by Thomas Rowley, a priest, and the friend and correspondent of the owner of the “ cofre.” Specimens of these, written on small slips of vellum, were passed off on persons, who ought to have known better, as authentic old poems. In a youth more fortunately situated, the attempt of gulling the local literati, and even of imposing for a season on the boundless credulity of a few venerable antiquaries, as it presented almost irresistible temptation to a clever lively lad, might have been pardoned as a somewhat indecorous hoax; though, to the safety of such a project, some confidant might have been necessary, to vouch, had need been, for the good faith of the jester. Chatterton lived and died unconfessed; and sought to gain patrons by an imposition which soon assumed a more serious character than that of a juvenile frolic. We can now only regret, that his brief experience of life did not give him confidence to look for that sympathy and encouragement in his own person, which he endeavoured
to obtain under the fictitious character of Rowley. Succeeding so well with the learned men of Bristol, Chat
terton was tempted to check at higher game. He wrote to the Hon. Horace Walpole, who was about that time engaged with his History of Painters, offering to furnish him with an account of the eminent ancient painters who had flourished in Bristol; and, after some correspondence, transmitted some of the contents of “ Maister Canyinge's Cofre," which Gray and Mason, both good judges, pronounced to be forgeries. Irritated at this barefaced attempt at imposition, when Chatterton, indignant at the neglect of the right honourable worshipper of all Gothic nicknacks, demanded back his MSS., they were returned in a blank cover. Mr Walpole has been severely blamed for his culpable neglect of Chatterton, though it is not easy to discover much wrong, nor any positive unkindness, in his conduct to a youth who had introduced himself to his notice by a glaring fraud. It is indeed to be regretted and wondered at, that neither himself nor his friends felt more curiosity about a youth who supported a literary forgery by such extraordinary proofs. One who, at the age of sixteen, could personate a poet of the 15th century with far greater beauty and ingenuity than any real poet of that age possessed, was surely an object of some attention, was almost worth try. ing to save and encourage, in spite of his youthful errors. A guardian friend at this critical period might have redeemed the unfortunate youth from all the consequences of the impropriety induced by want of knowledge of life,
concurring with an imperfect moral education. Before he was seventeen, Chatterton obtained a release
from his indentures, it is said, by repeated threats of committing suicide. A man that could employ such unworthy and base arts or threats to work on the feelings of those about him, would scarcely be worth saving from the fate he menaces; but Chatterton was still a boy boy of astonishing genius, strong passions, and misdirect. ed pride, yet one whose native force of mind and high