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.siding on the banks of the Con- which was a human skull. The necticut, and requested leave to owner of the soil knew, that this dig in his garden for a chest of had been one of the favourite restmoney. That this treasure was ing places of the Indians, as froin deposited there he could not doubt, the neighbouring river they were wien one of them assured him, always sure of a supply of fish. that he had twice dreamed, that on However to encourage these mi. the right hand of the road was a ners he affirmed, that he had once, higli rock, strangely notched at the in digging on his farm, thrown top, and at four rods distance in a out human bones, which bled freenorth-east course from the rock, ly. Nothing could be a stronger a red picket fence, near which was confirmation of their hopes. The buried the wealth which would re- pick axe and spade now rattled on Ward their search. The dreamer the lid of the chest ; and the rehad not been in the vicinity for ward of their labours, the consummany years, and had come from a mation of their fortunes, and the great distance, so that his circum- confusion and conviction of increstantial description was sufficient dulous scoffers was now within proof of his sincerity. The own- their reach. er of the soil could have no objec. The famous pirate, Capt. Kidd, tion to such a request ; he only who about a century and a half ago demanded one half of what should had amassed wealth by his deprebe found ; but was prevailed on to dations, never since equalled but accept a quarter.
by the imperial vagabond from The cunning man with his rod Corsica, buried this money here. of witch hazle, to be holden in both He was once chased by an English hands, like an old-fashioned pair frigate in Long-Island sound, and of curling-tongs, stalked in solemn was obliged to enter the Connectisilence over the garden, till his cut. Here he debarked, and, loadrod suddenly pointed downwards. ing his men with treasure, marchUnder this spot lay the treasure. ed across the country to descend Another person took the rod ; but the St. Lawrence, his oniy safe in his hands it was uniformly in- avenue to the ocean. In their flexible. He was reminded by the journey through the wilderness, adept that the witch hazle never de. when any one fell sick, his money signates the place, where money is was immediately buried, and he buried, unless it be wielded by the himself, horresco referens, murhands of a seventh son of a seventh dered and deposited upon the chest son, born under the full blaze of a to mark the spot. In the same certain planet. Around this spot way money was buried by pirates our conjuror described a circle, under the famous poised rock on and on the North, South, and East the left hand of the Salein turnpoints spread an open bible. The pike, and I have never yet heard West was left unprotected, because of its removal. on that side was the river, which Whether Capt. Kidd ever reach-' the evil spirit would not dare ap- ed the St. Lawrence was beyond proach.
the information of these labourers; The party now began to dig but it had been commonly believwith an activity, never exercised ed, that he had penetrated so far, before ; and after a few hours they one hundred miles from the ocean, turned up some bones, among and the indication of the witch hazle
Vol. III. No. 11. 32
was now incontestably established of breaking silence, instantly suns by these mouldering relicks. Un- the chest and its treasure fifty feet happily one of the company asked lower, where it has never since another to lend him his spade, and been heard from. the evil spirit, resenting the insult
From the Censura Literaria, September, 1806.
" A SKETCH OF THE GENIUS AND WRITINGS OF DR. BEATTIE, WITH
EXTRACTS FROM HIS LIFE AND LETTERS," LATELY PUBLISHED BI SIL WILLIAM FORBES.*
SIR William Forbes's long-ex- by comparing them with his pitpected Life of Dr. Beattie has at decessor's, which always from a length appeared in two quarto voboy disgusted me with their suif lumes : and I cannot refrain from and barren frigidity ; while those indulging myself with a few cur- of the former glow with all the sory remarks, and a few extracts, warmth of friendship, and congee while my heart and my head are nial poetick feeling : but I allude warm with the subject. Has it only to the plan. added to our admiration of him There are many points,on which as an author and a man? It has there is no doubt that an author caa done both. There are many cir- best delineate his own character: cumstances which combine to qua- but there are others, of which he lify Sir William, in a very uncom- is totally disqualified to give a fair mon degree, for the biographer of portrait, and of which, if he were this great poet and philosopher : qualified, it is highly improbable their long, intimate, and uninter- that his Letters should furnish an rupted friendship, their habits of adequate account. constant correspondence, and their I trust therefore I may be excongenial turns of mind, in parti- cused for venturing the opinion, cular; while the talents, and the which I have long formed, that, character of the survivor, and his though Letters are an excellent, very extensive & near acquaintance and almost necessary, accompaniwith the most eminent men in the ment of a Life; and though apliterary world, give a force and propriate extracts from them, and authority to his narration, which continued references to them may few eulogists can confer.
well be introduced in the narrative, But with due respect to the ex- yet they should not form the amples of Mr. Mason, and Mr. principal part of that narrative, Hayley, I confess I am not entire which, as it seems to me, should ly satisfied with the plan of leare exhibit one unbroken composition. ing a man to be principally his To leave the generality of readers own biographer, by means of a to collect and combine an entire series of letters, connected by portrait, 0: a regular series of a few short and occasional narra- events, from the scattered notices tives. I do not mean indeed to of a variety of desultory letters, depreciate those of Mr. Hayley, is to give the credit for a degree
of attention, and a power of Gralla * We are happy to hear, that the a.
ing results, which few will be bove work will shortly appear from the found to possess, and iewer still press of I. Riley & Co., New-York. have leisure to exercise.
Having thus frankly declared was drawn after real nature. And my sentiments, it is almost unne. the seventeenth stanza of the sec. cessary to add, that I prefer the ond Book of The Minstrel, in plan adopted by Dr. Currie, in his which he so feelingly describes Life of Burns, to that, which has the spot, of which he most appiovbeen chosen by Sir William ed, for his place of sepuiture, is so Forbes for the life of his illustris very exact a picture of the situa. ous friend. In the execution of tion of the church yard of Lawthe mode he has followed Sir rence-kirk, which stands near to William has discovered a sound- his mother's house, and in which ness of judgment and taste in his is the school-house where he was selection, an elegance of language, daily taught, that he must cera purity of sentiment, and an ar- tainly have had it in his view, at dour of friendship, which will do the time he wrote the following him immortal honour. But, as beautiful lines. my purpose is not to criticise the "Let Vanity adorn the marble tomb biographer,but to make some slight With trophies, rhymes, and scutchremarks on the poet, I inust proceed.
eons of renown, Beattie was born a poet; that is, In the deep dungeon of some Gothick
dome, he was born with those talents and
Where Night and Desolation ever sensibilities, which, with the assis
frown ! tance of the slightest education, are Mine be the breezy hill that skirts the almost certain in due time to vent
down, themselves in poetry. In the first Where a green grassy turf is all I occupation of his manhood, the
With here and there a violet bestrown, care of an obscure country school, Fast by a brook, or fountain's mur. Sir Wm. Forbes says, “ he had a muring wave ; never failing resource in his own And many an evening sun shine sweetmind ; in those meditations which ly on my grave.' he loved to indulge, amidst the “ It was his supreme delight to beautiful and sublime scenery of saunter in the fields the livelong that neighbourhood, which furnishe night, contemplating the sky, and ed him with endless amusement. marking the approach of day ; and At a small distance from the place he used to describe with peculiar of his residence a deep and exten- animation the soaring of the lark sive glen, finely cloathed with wood, in a summer morning. A beautiruns up into the mountains. Thi- ful landscape, wbich he has magther he frequently repaired ; and nificently described in the twentieth there several of his earliest pieces stanza of the first book of The were written. From that wild Minstrel, corresponds exactly with and romantick spot, he drew, as what must have presented itself to from the life, some of his finest his poetical imagination, at those descriptions, and most beautiful occasions, on the approach of the pictures of nature, in his poetical rising sun, as he would view the compositions. He has been heard grandeur of that scene from the to say, for instance, that the de- hill in the neighbourhood of his scription of the owl, in his charm. native village. The high hill, ing poem “ On Retirement,” which rises to the west of Fo:• Whence thescar'dowl.on pinions grey,
doune, would, in a misty morning, Breaks from the rustling boughs ;
suppiy him with one of the images And down the lone vale sails.away
so beautifully described in the • To more profound repose;'
twenty-first stanza. And the twentieth stanza of the second book agine that an exquisite sensibility of The Minstrel describes a night to the sublime and beautiful of scene unquestionably drawn from nature is ever to be found in minds nature, in which he probably had which have not been opened by a in view Homer's sublime descrip- degree of culture.” The intertion of the Moon in the eighth position indeed of the word ü er took of the liiad, so adinirably clusively” a little qualifies the astranslated by Pope, that an emi. sertion ; but the endowments at. nent critick has not scrupled to tributed by the poet to Edwin, declare it to be superiour to the though they are not exclusively original. He used himself to tell, are more peculiariy, adapted to that it was from the top of a high poetical eminence. hili in the neighbourhood, that he I f this assertion then be true, first beheld the ocean, the sight of that the delineation of the infant which, he declared, made the most Minstrel was essentially that of lively impression on his mind. the author, for which we have the . “ It is pleasing, I think, to con- authority of Sir W. Forbes, and template these his early habits, so even of Beattie himself, there is congenia to the feelings of a poet an end to the denial of particular ical and warm imagination ; and genius, which Johnson was so ford therefore, I trust,I shall be forgiven of urging, and which so many, an for having dwelt on them so long." his great, but surely far from
Sir William Forbes need have infallible judgment, are fond of made no apology for the length of repeating. Every one, possessed these pissayes. I would have said of equal fancy and equal sensibili“U si sic omnia !” but that it ty of heart with Beattie, would would seem to imply some cen- feel in childhood similar sentisure ; and I well know that all ments and similar pleasures ; and could not be like this. We can I think it must not be questioned not always be watching the dawn that the impression of those senti. of day « on the misty mountain's ments and those pleasures would top ;" nor be constantiy wandering lead a person of equal capacity « alone and pensive” by the “ pale more peculiarly, not only to the beams” of the “ Queen of Night.” inclination, but, with the aid of a But it will not be doubted, that in little industry, to the power, of the occupations of “ young Ed. composing poetry. win" the poet described many of I assert again therefore that the his own early propensities and hand of Nature impressed on amusements. I do not agree Beattie's mind the character of a ti:erefore with an eminent critick,* poet. He afterwards became a phiwho observing that Edwin “islosopher by the effect of accident, marked from his cradle with those and study. All this indeed he apdisposi:ions and propensities, pears to me to have confirmed by wuich were to be the foundation his own direct declarations. of nis future destiny,” adds, “I Hear him in a Letter to Dr. believe it would be difficult in real Blacklock, dated 9 Jan. 1769. biography to trace any such early **** “ Perhaps you are anx. indications of a genius exclusive- ious to know what first induced ly titled for poetry; nor do I im- me to write on this subject ;"
(Truth.) “I will tell you as - De. Aikin's Letters on English briefly as I can. In my younger Poetry.
days I read chiefly for my amuse
of SK Beathe best
la ment, and I found myself best a- required neither genius, nor learn** 2 mused with the classicks, and what ing, nor taste, nor knowledge of
We call the Belles Lettres. Meta- mankind, to be able to put togethphysicks I disliked ; mathematicks er; but only a captious temper, an pleased me better; but I found my irreligious spirit, a moderate com
mind neither improved nor gratifi- mand of words, and an extraordi. t ed by that study. When provi- nary degree of vanity and preut tydence allotted me my present sta- sumption. You will easily perI Letion" (of Professor of Moral Phi- ceive that I am speaking of this * losophy) “it became incumbent on philosophy only in its most extrav
me to read what had been written agant state, that is, as it appears in on the subject of morals and hu- the works of Mr. Hume. The man nature : the works of Locke, more I study it, the more am I conBerkeley, and Hume, were cele- firmed in this opinion,” &c. brated as master-pieces in this The above extract discovers the way ; to them, therefore, I had origin of Beattie's philosphical recourse. But as I began to study works. Those which foilow exthem with great prejudices in their hibit the first traces of his incomfavour, you will readily conceive, parable poem,“ The Minstrel.” how strangely I was surprised to
find them, as I thought, replete Dr. Beattie to Dr. Blacklock, 22 , but some with absurdities : I pondered these
Sept. 1766. absurdities ; I weighed the argu ****. “ Not long ago I began a ments, with which I was sometimes poem in the style and stanza of not a little confounded ; and the Spenser, in which I propose to result was, that I began at last to give full scope to my inclination, suspect my own understanding, and be either droll or pathetick, and to think that I had not capacity descriptive or sentimental, tender for such a study. For I could not or satirical, as the humour strikes conceive it possible that the absur- me ; for, if I mistake not, the mandities of these authors were so ner, which I have adopted, admits great, as they seemed to me to be; equally of all these kinds of comotherwise, thought I, the world position. I have written one hunwould never admire them so much. dred and fifty lines, and am surAbout this time, some excellent prised to find the structure of that antisceptical works made their ap- complicated stanza so little troublepearance, particularly Reid's “ In- some. I was always fond of it ; quiry into the Human Mind."- for I think it the most harmonious Then it was that I began to have that ever was contrived. It admits a little more confidence in my own of more variety of pauses, than judgment, when I found it con- either the couplet, or the alternate firmed by those, of whose abilities rhyme ; and it concludes with a I did not entertain the least dis- pomp, and majesty of sound, which, trust. I reviewed my authors a- to my ear, is wonderfully delightgain with a very different temper ful. It seems also very well adaptof mind. A very little truth will ed to the genius of our language, sometimes enlighten a vast extent which, from its irregularity of inof science. I found that the scep- flexion, and number of monosyllatical philosophy was not what the bles, abounds in diversified terminworld imagined it to be ; but a ations, and consequently renders
frivolous, though dangerous, sys- our poetry susceptible of an endless -432. W tem of verbal subtlety, which it variety of legitimate rhymes. But
again to the
me to bea: direct de beste
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