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direct view to imitation at all; but hecause in the best effusions of those writers are to be found the happiest specimens of English versification, and such as with due regard to every man's own mode of thinking and speaking, might lead the poets of the present age to that proper mixture of sweetness and strength,-of modern finish and ancient variety, from which Pope and his rhyming facilities have so long withheld us.
4 Not though I collected one pattern victorious
A note upon Alfred might be indulged me, on the strength of his having been reckoned the “ Prince of the Saxon Poets ;” but the name of that truly great man is not to be mentioned without enthusiasm by any constitutional Englishman,—that is to say, by any Englishman, who truckling to no sort of licentiousness, either of prince or people, would see the manliest freedom of a republic, adorned by the graces
and quickened by the unity of a monarchy.-But to whom indeed, that has an admiration for any great or good quality, is not the memory of Alfred
a dear one-a man, beloved in his home, feared by his enemies; venerated by his friends,-accomplished in a day of barbarism, -anticipating the wisdom of ages,--self-taught, and what is more, self-corrected,
-a Prince too, who subdued the love of pleasure,-a Monarch, who with power to enslave, delighted to make free,-a Conqueror, who could stop short of the love of conquest, and sheath his sword the moment it had done enough,-a Sage, in short, who during the greatest part of a reign, in which he had practised every art of peace as well as war, of leisure as well as activity, -in which he had fought upwards of fifty pitched battles, had cleared his country from it's invaders, and had established the foundation of those liberties, upon which we are at this moment enjoying our every-day comforts, had to struggle with a melancholy and agonizing disorder, which neither soured his temper nor interrupted his industry. If this is a character to make emula
tion despair, it is a character also to make despair itself patient, and to convert it into an invincible spirit. :
It is not generally known to the admirers of Alfred, that there is a life of him extant, written in Latin by one of his most familiar and intelligent friends, Asser of Saint David's, whom he had invited to court from a monastery. There is a good edition of it, and I believe, not a scarce one, by Francis Wise, who was Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, and Assistant Librarian of the Bodleian *. The life is the more interesting, not only as it furnishes an authentic document for some of the most curious particulars, which our known historians have made popular, and for more which have been related by others, but inasmuch as the author exhibits evident marks of his being a plain-spoken, impartial man, and with all his veneration for Alfred, does not scruple to speak of the faults of his youth, and even to attribute his misfortunes to
* The one I have is an octavo, printed at Oxford in 1722, but the first edition appears to have been in quarto. Asser was edited also by Camden and by Archbishop Parker.
such causes as were likely to strike a churchman in
The substance of Asser is contained in the fourth and fifth books of Mr. Turner's History of the Anglo-Saxons, where the reader will find a more copious and interesting account of Alfred, though written in a singular style, than in any other English performance.
It is still however a disgrace to English biogra. phy, that there is no life of our unrivalled countryman, important enough from the size and the composition to do him justice. The notices of Milton, Hume, and Burke, who like all other wise men,, of all opinions and countries, have united to speak of him with one voice, are mere notices, however excellent of their kind. Little perhaps could be added to the facts of his story; but they are of a nature to be rendered doubly interesting by proper management; no subject, it is evident, could be more justly provocative of elegant reflection and illustration; and a compact, lively volume, written by one who was learned enough to enter into the language of his hero, of taste enough to relish his
accomplishments, and of knowledge and spirit enough to apprehend the real greatness of his character, would be a treasure to be laid up in the heart of every Englishman, and tend to perpetuate those solid parts of our character, which are the only real preservatives of our glory.
$ 'Twas lucky for Colman he wasn't there too,
It cannot be supposed, especially in my present situation, that I should object to a man on the mere ground of his being circumscribed in his movements; but it is pretty well known, I believe, that it is not plain-dealing which sent Mr. Colman to prison, nor any very great care for his honour which keeps him there. These are matters, however, upon which I am loth to touch, and therefore dismiss them.-The pertinacious ribaldry of Mr. Colman, and his affectation of regarding it's reprovers as hypocrites, things which look more like the robust ignorance of