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stance of attention to the pastoral duties, that during a residence of more than half a century at his rectory of Claverton, he has not, at one time, absented himself a month from the care of his parishioners.
His attachment to the muses seems to have sprung from his intimacy with Mr. Shenstone, who entertained a high opinion of his poetical talents, particularly in easy and familiar versification.
Mr. Graves's first publication was " The Festoon, or a Collection of Epigrams, with an essay on that species of composition." In 1772 appeared the Spiritual Quixotte, an attempt to expose those itinerant preachers, who aimed at rendering the regular clergy contemptible in the eyes of their parishioners, and to which he was induced by an anecdote related by himself from his own experience. His parishioners were so well satisfied with his doctrine, that they regularly attended the service every Sunday; but he was soon after deserted by the greater part of his flock, in consequence of the more attractive declamations of a journeyman shoe-maker from Bradford, who had come into his parish and preached and sang psalms in an old house. “Columella, or the Distrsssed Anchorite, a Colloquial Tale,” justly increased his reputation, and was intended to expose the ill consequences which were likely to arise from a young man, designed for some useful profession, or some exalted situation in life, retiring, in the bloom of his youth, to a solitary and indolent life in the country.
In 1786 he produced, under the feigned name of the late Peter of Pomfret, “Lucubrations, in prose and verse,” which was in general well received and treated with great respect by the critics of the day. Among the various productions of Mr. Graves, we must not pass over unnoticed his ~ Recollections," a work writ. ten to vindicate his friend Shenstone from the unmerited censure cast upon his memory by Dr. Johnson, who observes certainly, without any just grounds, " that Mr. Shenstone had not a comprehensive mind, or active curiosity, or any value for those branches of knowledge which he himself had not cultivated.” This testimony of respect for the character of his deceased friend reflects great honor on Mr. Graves, and was addressed in a series of letters to the late Mr. W. Seward, in 1788. . His “ Reveries of Solitude” abound in pleasing passages: and he has translated from the Greek and French several useful works. His “Love of Order” is his most regular poem; and his “ Invitation to the Feathered Race” contains more harmonious lines than any other of his pieces. Many of his epigrams have been deservedly praised for justness of allusion and neatness of point.
Mr. Graves was married while a fellow of All-Souls, and has had several children.
The character which he gives of himself in the Reveries of Solitude may not prove unentertaining to our readers : VOL. 2.--No. 11.
- A wight
" A wight there was, scarce known I ween to famc,
“Such is the life of man, with busy face,
Mr. Graves still resides at his living of Claverton, beloved by bis parishioners, and highly respected by a numerous circle of friends, among
be classed some of the first characters of the country. The activity and bustle of Mr. Graves's pace and movements are nearly proverbial, and gave rise to the following pleasant observation from Mr. Thickness : “Mr. Graves would be one of the most agreeable men in the world, if he had but time; for want of which, he only came to see you, to let you know he could not stay with you a single moment."
AN ACCOUNT OF A DESCENT INTO THE CRATER OF MOUNT
VESUVIUS, BY EIGHT FRENCHMEN,
In the Night of the 18th of July, 1901.
THE ascent of Mount Vesuvius, which rises to about 3600 feet above the surface of the sea, is extremely difficult. One half the way lies over very rapid acclivities, which the traveller is obliged to climb, sinking at every step up to the knee in ashes. Sic Wm. Hamilton, however, who has given to the public several views of Vesuvius, taken during his long residence at the Court of Naples, has performed this journey no less than 62 times. The summit of the mountain has also been visited at different periods by other naturalists. Among the most celebrated of whom may be mentioned, Dolomieu and Spallanzani. But since the eruption of 1779, which totally changed the form and appearance of Vesuvius, no person has ventured to descend into the crater of the volcano. This perilous enterprize has been recently executed by eigbt Frenchmen. Their names are Citizen Debeer, Secretary to Citizen Alquier, the French Ambassador at the Court of Naples; Houdouart, chief engineer of bridges and highways, attached to the army of Italy; Wicar, a painter; Dampierre, adjutant-commandant; Bagneris, one of the physicians of the army of observa. tion; Fressinet and Andras, French travellers; and Moulin, inspector of posts. The particulars of this extraordinary undertaking have been published by them in the following narrative:
“Regardless of the attempts made by the Neapolitans to excite our fears, and having received what they conceived to be their last adieu, we set out about half past eleven in the evening of the 18th of July from the hotel of the French ambassador. The party consisted of 14, all of us Frenchmen. We had provided ourselves with cordage, and several necessary implements, and above all with a fund of gaiety, which we ceased not to retain during the whole of the adventure, and even at the moments of most imminent danger. About midnight we alighted from our carriages at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. There, being mounted upon mules well trained to the journey, with the adjutant-commandant Dampierre at our head, and following each other in a line, we rode up, amidst the thick darkness of night, one half the steep and rugged ascent of the mountain. Our guides were numerous, and our lighted torches gave the expedition a mysterious and melancholy appearance, which formed a striking contrast with the loud bursts of laughter, and the unrestrained gaiety of those who composed the caravan. Having reached about half way up, we were obliged to alight a second time, and to climb, knee-deep in ashes, the steepest and most difficult part of Vesuvius. At length, in a state of profuse perspiration, and exhausted with fatigue, we gained the summit about half past two in the morning. Here we
paused for a moment to enjoy the magnificent view of the city of Naples and its harbour, the delightful eminences which surround it, and the vast expanse of water which washes its shores. A little after day-break, having made the circuit of a part of the mouth of the volcano, in order to discover the most convenient route, adjutant-commandant Dampierre, and citizen Wicar, descended at first without any accident at the spot agreed upon. But on reaching one third of the way, they were suddenly stopped by an excavation of about 50 feet in height. Recollecting that it was impossible to fix upon any thing to support themselves by amidst crumbling ashes; and being also aware that the friction of ropes would soon bring down the point of support, and the surrounding heaps to a great distance on every side, they determined to return. Besides, at the moment they were occupied in cons triving the means of descent, the rolling of some stones from the summit put every thing in motion on their passage. Adjutantcommandant Dampierre perceived the spot upon which he stood give way and sink before his eyes, the moment he had quitted it; and he had barely time to make a precipitate retreat, and to call out for Citizen Wicar to follow him. In fact they had scarcely felt the place, when the surface they had passed over, and all the little eminences near it, successively fell ini, and continued for half an hour to roll down with a loud noise to the bottom of the crater.
Before we should renounce the enterprize, and return to Naples with the regret of an unsuccessful attempt, we once more surveyed the edges of the mouth of Vesuvius. We discovered a long slope which extended to the crater, and which, though very sapid, seemed to present a pretly smooth surface. Without thinking of the abrupt chasms which intervened, Citizen Debeer, the ambassador's secretary, accompanied by a Lazaruni, set out first to try this passage. Having slidden down about one third of the way, amidst a torrent of ashes, set in motion by the impression of his feet, he found means to fix himself upon the edge of a projection about twelve feet high, which it was necessary to pass, in order to reach the slope below. Our Lazaroni, struck with dread, at first positively refused to proceed any farther, but his fears were soon overcome by the promise of a double ducat. He crossed himself all over, invoked La Madona and St. Antonio of Padua, and precipitated himself with Citizen Debeer to the foot of the first projection. A second succeeded, but not so high as the first, and consequently more easily passed. At length, amidst the continual rolling of lava, ashes, and stones, they arrived at the bottom or the crater, and extended their arms towards us, uttering exclanations of joy, which we returned with bravos of enthusiastic satisfaction.
Citizin Engineer Houdouart immediately followed Citizen Debeer, and after encountering the same obstacles, and passing the dargerous projections, joined him upon the crater. Thére, under an impression of the almost unsurmountable difficulty of reascend
ing, they spontaneonsly rushed into each other's arms, like two friends, thrown upon a desert island, from whence there was no hope of deliverance.
They instantly proceeded to traverse together, and with cautious steps, that immense furnace which still sends forth smoke from several parts.
The intrepid Wicar, who anxiously wished to participate their . fate, called out for some of them to assist him in passing the two cataracts. Impatient at seeing none of them come, he precipi-. tated himself alone, passed the two heights, and rolled to the bote, tom, amids a torrent of ashes, stones, and volcanic productions. Adjutant Dampierre, citizens Bagneris, of the military medical, staff, Fressinet and Andras, two French travellers, and Moulin, inspector of posts, soon followed, and reached the crater, afier experiencing the same dangers.
Wicar instantly seated bimself on a heap of scoriæ, and with that superiority of talent which he is generally acknowledged to possess, sketched the portraits of the eight Frenchmen who had descended, in profiles of the most perfect likeness.
Each of them then accumulated his little treasure of the different volcanic matters which appeared either curious or new, and occupied himself in making the few observations which circumstances could admit.
Could we have previously relied upon the success of our enter. prize; had we not, as the reader may conjecture, been discoua raged in our preparations by our timid guides; in a word, had not several of us, who had but recently arrived at Naples, been pressed in point of time ; our descent would certainly have been attended with more useful and satisfactory results.
Thus circumstanced, and extremely limited in our means of examination, the following are the only particulars we were able to ascertain :
Reaumer's thermometer, the only instrument in our possession, stood at twelve degrees on the summit of Mount Vesuvius. The atmosphere was cold and somewhat humid. In the crater the mercury rose to 16°, and the temperature was more mild.
The surface of the place, which, from the top, appeared to the naked eye completely level, presented, when we reached it, only a vast extent of asperities. Every where we had to tread upon very porous lavas, which were in general pretty hard, but in some places, and particularly where we descended, still soft and yielding to the impression of our feet. But what principally attracted our notice were the apertures in the boitom of the crater, and the interior sides of the mountain, by which the vapours make their es. cape. These spiracles were pretty numerous, and the matters, which exhaled from them, ascended rapidly. Being now upon crater, we were anxious to ascertain whether the vapours were of a noxious nature. We passed over the apertures whence they issued and breathed them repeatedly; without experiencing the smallest inconvenience. The thermometer being placed close to