« PreviousContinue »
ginai thought? and fine observations with which it abounds. As a mere narrative there is not so much to be said for it. There are but few incidents: and the account which we have of them is neither very luminous nor very complete. If it be true, therefore, that the only legitimate business of biography is with incidents and narrative, it will not be easy to deny that there is something amiss, either in the title or the substance of this work. But we are humbly of opinion that there is no good ground for so severe a limitation.
Biographies, it appears to us, are naturally of three kinds—and please or instruct us in at least as many different ways. One sort seeks to interest us by an account of what the individual in question actually did or suffered in his own person: another by an account of what he saw done or suffered by others; and a third by an account of what he himself thought, judged, or imagined—for these too, we apprehend, are acts of a rational being— and acts frequently quite as memorable, and as fruitful of consequences, as any others he can either witness or perform.
Different readers will put a different value on each of these sorts of biography. But at all events they will be in no danger of confounding them. The character and position of the individual will generally settle, with sufficient precision, to which class his memoirs should be referred ; and no man of common sense will expect to meet in one with the kind of interest which properly belongs to another. To complain that the life of a warrior is but barren in literary speculations, or that of a man of letters in surprising personal adventures, is about as reasonable as it would be to complain that a song is not a sermon, or that there is but little pathos is a treatise on geometry.
The first class, in its hieher or public department, should deal chiefly with the lives of leaders in great and momentous transactions —men who, by their force of character, or the advantage of their position, have been enabled to leave their mark on the age and country to which they belonged, and to impress more than one generation with the traces of their transitory existence. Of this kind are many of the lives in Plutarch ; and of this kind, still more eminently, should be the lives of such men as Mahomet, Alfred, Washington, Napoleon. There is an inferior and more private department under this head, in which the interest, though less elevated, is often quite as intense, and rests on the same eeneral basis, of sympathy with personal feats and endowments—we mean the history of individuals whom the ardour of their temperament, or the caprices of fortune, have involved in strange adventures, or conducted through a series of extraordinary and complicated perils. The memoirs of Benvenuto Cellini, or Lord Herbert of Cherbnry. are good examples of this romantic sort of biography; and many more might be added, from the chronicles of ancient paladins, or the confessions of modern malefactors.
The second class is chiefly for the compilers
of Diaries and journals—autobiographers who, .vithout having themselves done any thing memorable, have yet had the good luck to live through long and interesting periods; and who, in chronicling the events of their own unimportant lives, have incidentally preserved invaluable memorials of contemporary manners and events. The Memoirs of Evelyn and Pepys are the most obvious instances of works which derive their chief value from this source; and which are read, not for any great interest we take in the fortunes of the writers, but for the sake of the anecdotes and notices of far more important personages and transactions with which they so lavishly present us; and there are many others, written with far inferior talent, and where the design is more palpably egotistical, which are perused with an eager curiosity, on the strength of the same recommendation.
The last class is for Philosophers and men of Genius and speculation—men. in short, who were, or ought to have been, Authors; and whose biographies are truly to be regarded either as supplements to the works the}' have given to the world, or substitutes for those which they might have given. These are histories, not of men, but of Minds; and their value must of course depend on the reach and capacity of the mind they serve to develope, and in the relative magnitude of their contributions to its history. When the individual has already poured himself out in a long series of publications, on which all the moods and aspects of his mind have been engraven (as in the cases of Voltaire or Sir Walter Scolt), there may be less occasion for such a biographical supplement. But when an author (as in the case of Gray) has been more chary in his communications with the public, and it is yet possible to recover the precious, though immature, fruits of his genius or his studies,— thoughts, and speculations, which no intelligent posterity would willingly let die,—it ia due both to his fame and to the best interests of mankind, that they should be preserved, and reverently presented to after times, in such a posthumous portraiture as it is the business of biography lo supply.
The best and most satisfactory memorials of this sort are those which are substantially made up of private letters, journals, or written fragments of any kind, by the party himself; as these, however scanty or imperfect, are at all events genuine Relics of the individual, and generally bearing, even more authentically than his publications, the stamp of his intellectual and personal character. We cannot refer to better examples than the lives of Gray and of Cowper. as these have been finally completed. Next to these, if not upon the same level, we should place such admirable records of particular conversations, and memorable sayings gathered from the lips of the wise, as we find in the inimitable pages of Boswell.—a work which, by the general consent of th'S generation, has not only made us a thousand times better acquainted with Johnson than all his publications put together but has raised the standard of his intellectual character, and actually made discovery of large provinces in his understanding, of which scarcely an indication was to be found in his writings. Li the last and lowest place—in so far, at least, as relates to the proper business of this branch of biography, the enlargement of our knowledge of the genius and character of individuals—we must reckon that most common form of the memoirs of literary men, which consists of little more than the biographers own (generally most partial) description and estimate of his author's merits, or of elucidations and critical summaries of his most remarkable productions. In this division, though in other respects of great value, must be ranked those admirable dissertations which Mr. Stewart has given to the world under the title of the Lives of Reid. Smith, and Robertson,—the real interest of which consists almost entirely in the luminous exposition we there meet with of the leading speculations of those eminent writers, and in the candid and acute investigation of their originality or truth.
\Ve know it has been said, tliat after a man has himself given to the public all that he thought worthy of its acceptance, it is not fair for a posthumous biographer to endanger his reputation by bringing forward what he had withheld as unworthy,—either by exhibiting the mere dregs and refuse of his lucubrations, or by exposing to the general gaze those crude conceptions, or rash and careless opinions, which he may have noted down in the privacy of his study, or thrown out in the confidence of private conversation. And no doubt there may be (as there have been) cases of such abuse. Confidence is in no case to be violated: nor are mere trifles, which bear no maik of the writer's intellect, to be recorded to h.s prejudice. But wherever there is power and native genius, we cannot but grudge the suppression of the least of its revelations; and are persuaded, that with those who can judge of such intellects, they will never lose anything by the most lavish and indiscriminate disclosures. Which of Swift's most elaborate productions is at this day half so interesting as that most confidential Journal to Stella ! Or which of them, with all its utter carelessness of expression, its manifold contradictions, its infantine fondness, and all its quick-shifting moods, of kindness, selfishness, anger, and ambition, gives us half so strong an impression either of his amiableness or his vigour? How much, in like manner, is Johnson raised in our estimation, not only as to intellect but personal character, by the industrious eavesdroppings of Boswefl. setting down, day by day, in his note-book, the fragments of his most loose and u n weighed conversations? Or what, in fact, is there so precious in the works. or the histories, of eminent men, from Cicero to Horace Wai pole, as collections of their private and familiar letters? What would we not give for such a journal—such notes of conversations, or such letters, of Shakespeare. Chaucer, or Spenser? The mere drudges or co.vombs of literature may indeed suffer by iucti disclosures—as made-up beauties might
do by being caught in undreae: bat аП who are really worth knowing about, will, on the whole, be gainers; and we should be wnl content to have no biographies but ot thosewho would profit, as well as their readers, by being shown in new or in nearer lights.
The value of the insight which may th^.be obtained into the mind and the meaiuug of truly great authors, can scarcely be отегrated by any one who knows how to turn such communications to account; and we do not think we exaggerate when we say, that in many cases more light may be gained franc the private letters, notes, or recorded talk u; such persons, than from the most tùiisheci u their publications; and not only opon the many new topics which are eure to be started in such memorials, but as to the true character, and the merits and defect», of such publications themselves. It is from each sources alone that we can learn with certainty by what road the author arrived at the conclusions which \ve see established in hie works; against what perplexities he had to Ptrnççle, and after what failures he was at last enabled to succeed. It is thus only that we are often enabled to detect the prejudice or hostility which may be skilfully and mischievously disguised in the published book—to find out the doubts ultimately entertained by the author himself, of what may appear to most readers to be triumphantly established,—or to gain glimpses of those grand ulterior speculations, to which what seemed to common eyes a complete and finished system, was. in truth, intended by the author to serve only as a vestibule or introduction. Where each documents are in abundance, and the mind which has produced them is truly of I be highest order, we do not hesitate to say, that more will generally be found in them, in the way at least of hints to kindred minds, and a* scattering the seeds of grand ami or;uii,a] conceptions, than in any finished work.« which the indolence, the modesty, or the avucatio::* of such persons will have generally permitted them to give to the world. So far, therefore, from thinking the biography of men of geniot barren or unprofitable, because preeenubg few events or personal adventures, we cannot bot regard it, when constructed in substance of such materials as we have now mentioned. as the most instructive and interesting of all writing—embodying truth and wisdom in the vivid distinctness of a personal presentment —enabling us to look on genius in its first elementary stirrings, and in its weakness a* well as its strength,—and teachir.a u- at ;he same time trreat moral lessons, both a> to the value of labour and industry, and the necessity of rirtuts. as well as intellectual endow ments. for the attainment of lasting excellence.
In these general remarks our readers will easily perceive that we mean to shadow forth our conceptions of the character and peculiar merits of the work before us. It is the history not of a man of action, but of a student, a philosopher, and a statesman: and its value consists not in the slight and imperfect account of what was done by. or happened to, the indivi.hal, but in the vestiges ¡t has fortunately preserved of the thoughts, sentiments, and opinions of one of the most power-1 ful thinkers, most conscientious inquirers, and most learned reasoners, that the world has; ever seen. It is almost entirely made up of! journals and letters of the author himself;' and impresses us quite as strongly as any of his publications with a sense of the richness of his knowledge and the fineness of his understanding—and with a far stronger sense of his promptitude, versatility, and vigour.*
His intellectual character, generally, cannot be unknown to any one acquainted with his works, or who has even read many pages of the Memoirs now before us; and it is needless, therefore, to speak here of his great knowledge, the singular union of ingenuity and soundness in his speculations—his perfect candour and temper in discussion—the pure and lofty morality to which he strove to elevate the minds of others, and in his own conduct to conform, or the wise and humane allowance which he was ready, in every case but his own. to make for the infirmities which must always draw down so many from the higher paths of their duty.
These merits, we believe, will no longer be denied by any who have heaid of his name, or looked at his writings. But there were other traits of his intellect which could only be known to those who were of his acquaintance, and which it is still desirable that the readers of these Memoirs should bear in mind. One of these was. that ready and prodigious Memory, by which all that he learned seemed to be at once engraved on the proper compartment of his mind, and to present itself at the moment it was required ; another, still more remarkable, was the singular Maturity and completeness of all his views and opinions, even upon the most abstruse and complicated questions, though raised, without design or preparation, in the casual course of conversation. In this way it happened that the sentiments he delivered had generally the air of recollections—and that few of those with whom he most associated in mature life, cculd recollect of ever catching him in the act of making up his mind, in the course of the discussions in which ¡t was his delight to engage them. His conclusions, and the grounds of them, seemed always to have been previously considered and digested; and though he willingly developed his reasons, to secure the assent of his hearers, he uniformly seemed to have been perfectly ready, before the cause was called on, to have delivered the opinion of the court, with a full summary of the arguments and evidence on both sides. In the work before us, we have more peeps into the preparatory deliberations of his great intellect —that scrupulous estimate of the grounds of decision, and that jealous questioning of first impressions, which necessarily precede the formation of all firm and wise opinions.—than could probably be collected from the recol
* A short account of Sir James' parentage, education, and personal history is here omitted.
lections of all who liad most familiar access to him in society. It was owing perhaps to this vigour and rapidity of intellectual digestion that, though all his life a great talker, there never was a man that talked half so much who said so little that was either ioolifh 01 frivolous; nor any one perhaps who knew so well how to give as much liveliness and poignancy just and even profound observations, as others could ever impart to startling extravagance, and ludicrous exaggeration. The vast extent of his information, and the natural gaiety of his temper, made him independent of such devices for producing eflect; and, joined to the inherent kindness and gentleness of his disposition, made his conversation at once the most instructive and the most generally pleasing that could be imagined.
Of his intellectual endowments we shall say no more. But we must add, that the Tenderness of his domestic affections, and the deep Humility of his character, were as inadequately known, even among his friends, till the publication of those private records: For his manners, though gentle, were cold: and, though uniformly courteous and candid in society, it was natural to suppose that he was not unconscious of his superiority. It is, therefore, but justice to bring inlo view some of the proofs that are now before us of both these endearing traits of character. The beautiful letter which he addressed to Dr. Parr on the death of his first wife, in 1797, breathes ihe full spirit of both. AVe regret that we can only afford room for a part of it.
"Allow me, in justice to her memory, to tell yon what wht; was, and what I owed her I was guided in my choice only by the blind affection of my youth. I found an intelligent companion, and a lender friend; a prudent monitress, the most fait hint of wives, and a mother as tender as children ever luid the misfortune to lose. 1 tound a woman who. |>y the lender management of my weaknesses, graduaily corrected the том pernicious oí them. She became prudent from afFeclion ; and ihough of the mosl irenerous nature, she was taught economy and l'niüíility by her love tor me. During the most critical period of my lile, she preserved order in my iifTiiirs, trom ihe care o( which she reliever! me. She trendy reclaimed me trom dissipation ; she propped my weak and irresolute nature; she urged my indolence lo nil the exertions thai have tuen useful or creditable to me, and she waa perpetually at hand in admonish my heedlessness and improvidence. To her I owe whatever I am; to her whatever Ï shall be. Such was she whom I have lost! And I have lost her alter eight years of struggle and distress had bound us fast together, and moulded our tempers to each other,—when a knowledge of her worth had refined my youthful love into friendship, and before age had deprived it of much of ils original ardour,—I losl her. nías! (the choice of my youth, acid the partner of my misfortunes) at a moment when I had the prospect of her sharing my heller days!
"The philosophy which I have learnt only leaches me that virtue and friendship are the greatest of human blessings, and ihat their loss is irreparable. It aggravates my calamity, instead of consoling me under it. But my wounded heart seeks another consolation. Governed by those feelings, which have in every age and region of the world actuated the human mind, I seek relief, and I find it, in the soothing hope and consolatory opinion, that n Benevolent Wisdom inflicts the chastisement, as well as bestows the enjoyments of human life ; that Superintending Goodness will one day enligliien the darkness which surrounds our nature, and hangs over our prospects; that this dreary and wretched lile is not ihe whole of man; that an animal so sagacious and provident, and с pable of each proficiency in science and virtue, is not like the beasts that perish ; that there is a dwelling-place prepared tor the spirits of the just, and that the ways ul God will yet be vindicated to man."
We may add part of a very kind letter, written from India, in 1808, in a more cheerful mood, to his son-in-law Mr. Rich, then on a mission to Babylon.—and whose early death so «oon blamed the hopes, not only of his alluded family, but of the whole literary world.
"And now, my dear Rich, allow me, with the liberty of warm affection, earnestly to exhort you to exert every power of your mind in the duties ot your elation. There is something in the seriousness, ho!h of business and of science, of which your vivacity is impatient. The brilliant variety of your attainments and accomplishments do, I fear, flauer you into the conceit that you may ' indulge your genius,' and pass your life in amusement; while
5'ou smile at those who think, and at those who act. iut this would he weak and ignoble. The success of your past studies ought to show you how much yon may yet do, instead of soothing you with ihe reflection how much you have done.
*' Habits of seriousness of thought and action are necessary to the duties, to the importance, and to the dicrniiy of human life. What is amiable gaiety M twenty-four might run the risk, if it was unaccompanied by other things, of being thought frivolous and puerile at forty-four. I am so near fortytour. lh:it I can give you pretty exact news of that dull country; which yet ought to interest you, as you are travelling towards it, and must, 1 hope, pass through it.
"I hope you will profit by my errors. I was once ambitious to have made you a much improved edition of myself. If you had stayed here. I should have laboured to do so, in spite et your impatience; as it is, I heartily pray that you may make yourself something much better.
11 You came here so early as to have made few sacrifices of friendship and society at home. You can afford a good many years for making a handsome fortune, and still return home young. You do not led the torce of that word quite so much as I could wish: But for the present let me hope that the prospect of coming to one who has Mich an affection for you as I have, will give your country some of the attractions of home. If you can be allured to it bv the generous hope of increasing the enjoymenls of my old age, you will soon discover in it sufficient excellences to love and admire; and it will become to you, in ihe full force of the term, a home."
We are not sure whether the frequent aspirations which we find in his private letters. after the quiet and repose of an Academical situation. ouL'ht to be taken as proofs of his humility, though they are generally expressed in language bearing that character. But there are other indications enough, and of the most unequivocal description—for example, this entry in 1818:—
"has. I think, a distaste for me. 1 think
the worse oí nobody for such a feeling. Indeed I often feel adietaste for myself; and I am sure I should not esteem my own character in another person. It is more likely that I should have dis
raapectable or disagreeable qualities, than that
should have an unreasonable antipathy.
Vol. ii. p. 344.
In the same sad but gentle spirit, we hare
this entry in 1822 :—
4 Walked a little up the quiet valley, which on this cheerful morning looked pretty. While шиле on the stone under the iree, my mind wa» sooibed by reading some passages of in the Quarterly
Review. With no painful humility I felt that an enemy of mine isa man ot gei.iua and vir:ue; ard that all »ho think slightingly of me may be right."
But the strongest and most painful expíe*sion of this profound humility is to be fouoJ in a note to his Dissertation on Ethical Ph..-./sophy; in which, after a beautiful eutogiom on his deceased friends, Mr. George Wnsuii and Mr. Serjeant Lens, he adds—
"The present writer hopes that the good-oarurtd reader will excuse him lor having thus, perbapi unseasonably, bestowed heartfelt оличк; da- :. on those who were above the pursuit <>i'}>m:m. ir.l the remembrance of whose gond opinion and goodwill helps to support him, under a deep feue of faults and vices."
The reader now knows enough of SuJames" ])ersonal character to enter readJy into the spirit of any extracts we may laj before him. The most valuable ot tiies-.- ¿:supplied by his letters, journals, and occasional writings, while enjoying the comparative leisure of his Indian residence, or the complete leisure of his voyage to and from that country: and. with all due deference to opposite opinions, this is exactly what .vshould have expected. Sir James Mackintosh, it is well known, had a great relish ¡or Society; and had not constitutional vigour (after his return from India) to go through much Business without exhaustion and fatigue. In London anil in Parliament, therefore. h;> powerful intellect was at once too much dissi]>ated. and too much oppressed; and the traces it has left of its exertions on those scenes are comparatively few and inadequate. In conversation, no doubt, much that nas delightful and instructive was thrown ont; and, for want of a Boswell. has perished! But, though it may be true that we have thus k*4 the light and graceful flowers of anecdote and conversation, we would fain console ourselves with the belief that we have secured the mere precious and mature fruits of studies and meditations, which can only be pursued to advantage, when the cessation of more importunate calls has "left us leisure to be wise."
With reference to these views, nothing bat struck us more than the singular vigour and alertness of his understanding during the dull projrress of his home voyage. Shut up in a small cabin, in a tropical climate, in a state of languid health, and subject to every sort of annoyance, he not only reads w ith an industry which would not disgrace an ardent Academic studviii? for honours, bot plnneM eagerly into original speculations, and tinsbf* off some of the most beautiful composition» in the language, in a shorter time than would be allowed, for such subjects, to a contractor for leading paragraphs to a daily paper. In less than a fortnight, during this voyage, be seems to have thrown off nearly twenty elabo rate characters of eminent authors or slates
iiien m English story—conceived with a justness, and executed with a delicacy- which would seem unattainable without lona; meditation and patient révisai. We cannot now venture, however, to present our readers with more than a part of one of them ; and we take oui extract from that of Samuel Johnson.
"In early youih he had resisted the most severe • eels of probity. Neiihcr ihe exireme poverty nor llie uncertain income to which ihe virtue of so many .lien of letters has yielded, even in the slightest degree weakened his integrity, or lowered the diuniiy •' his independence. His moral principles (if the 'iingungt1 may he allowed) partook of the vigour of liis understanding. He was conscientious, sincere, determined; ana his pnde was no more than a jteady consciousness uf superiority in the most valuable ijua'.iiies of human nature. His friendships were nut only firm, hut generous arid lender, beleaih a rugged exierior. Нк wounded none of those feelings wliich ihe habits of his life enabled him to fsiimate; but he had become too hardened by se•ious distress not to contract some disregard for those minor delicacies which become so keenly sensible, in a cairn and prosperous fortune. He was a Tory, ntii without some propensities towards Jacobitism; and a High Churchman, with more attachment to eccl<'snsiii al anthori'v and a splendid worship, than is quite consistent with the spirit of Protestantism. On these subjects he neither permitted himself to doubt, imr toleruied difference of opinion in oihers. But the vigour of his understanding is no more to be estimated by his opinions on subjects «here it was hound by his prejudices, than the strength of a man's body by the efforts of a limb in letters. His conversation, which was one of ihe most powerful instruments of his extensive influence, was artificial, dogmatical, sententious, and poignant; adapted, with the most admirable versatility, lo every subject as it arose, »nd distinguished by an almost unparalleled power of serious repartee. He seems to have considered himself as a sor! of colloquial magistrale, who inflicted severe punishment from just policy. His course of life led him to treat those sensibilities, which such severity wounds, as fantastic and effeminate; and he entered society loo late to acquire those habits of politeness which are a substitute for natural delicacy.
"In ihe progress of English style, three periods may be easily distinguished. The first period extended from Sir Thomas More to I/ord Clarendon. During great part of this period, the style partook nf the rudeness and fluctuation of an unformed Ianlinage, in which use had not yet determined the words that were to he English. Writers had not yet discovered the comhinaiion of words which best suits the original structure and immutable constitution of our language. While the terms were English, ihe arrangement was Latin—the exclusive language of learning, and that in which every truth in science, and every model of elegance, was then contemplated by youth. For a centnrv and a half, ineffectual attempts were made to bend our vulgar longue to the genius of the language supposed to be superior; and the whole of this period, though not without a capricious mixture of coarse idiom, may be called ihe Latin, or pedantic age, of our style.
"In the second period, which extended from the Restoration to the middle of the eighteenth century, a series of wriiers appeared, of less genius indeed than their predecessors, but more successful in their experiments to discover the mode ol writing most adapted to the genius of the language. About the, same period that a similar change was effected in France by Pascal, they began to banish from style, learned as well as vulgar phraseology ; and to confine (hemdelves to the part of the language naturally used in general conversation by well-educated men. That middle region which lies between vulgarity and pedamry, remains commonly unchanged, while
3oth extremes are condemned to perpetual revolution. Those who select words from that permanent part ol a language, and who arrange them according to its natural order, have discovered the true secret of rendering their writings permanent; and of preserving that rank among the classical writers of iheir country, which men of greater intelleclual power have tailed to attain. Ol these writers, whose language has not yet been at all superannuated, Cowley was probably the earliest, as Dryden and Addison were assuredly the greatest.
"The third period may be called the Rhetorical, and is distinguished by the prevalence of a school of writers, of which Johnson was ihe founder. The fundamental character of tUie style is, that it employs undisguised art, where classical writers appear only to obey the impulse of a cultivated and adorned nature, &.C.
"As the mind of Johnson was robust, but neither nimble nor graceful, so bis style, though sometimes significant, nervous, and even majestic, was void of all grace and ease; and being ihe most unlike of all styles to the natural effusion of a cultivated mind, had ihe least pretensions to ihe praise of eloquence. During the period, now tirnr a close, in which he was a favourite model, a stiff symmetry and tedious monotony succeeded to that various music wilh which the laste of Addison diversified his periods, and to that natural imagery «Inch his beautiful genius seemed wilh graceful negligence lo scatter over his composition."
We stop here to remark, that, though concurring in the substance of this masterly classification of our writers, we should yet be disposed to except to that part of it which represents the first introduction of soft, graceful, and idiomatic English as not earlier than the period of the Restoration. In our opinion it is at least as old as Chaueer. The English Bible is full of it; and it is among the most common, as well as the most beautiful, of the many languages spoken by Shakespeare. Laying his verse aside, there are in his longer passages of prose—and in the serious as well as the humorous parts—in Hamlet, and Brutus, and Shylock, and Henry V., as well as in FalstafT. and Touchstone, Rosalind, and Benedick, a staple of sweet, mellow, and natural Enslish, altogether as free and elegant as that of Addison, and for the most part more vigorous and more richly coloured. The same may be said, with some exceptions, of the other dramatists of that age. Sir James is right perhaps as to the grave and authoritative writers of prose; but few of the wits ol Queen Anne's time were of that description. We shall only add that part of the sequel which contains the author's general account of the Lives of the Poets.
"Whenever understanding nlone is sufficient for poetical criticism, the decisions of Johnson ore generally right. But the beauties of p.-etry must befell before their causes are investigated. There, is a poetical sensibility, which in the progress of the mind becomes as distinct a power as a musical ear or a picturesque eye. Without a considerable degree of this sensibility, it is as vain for a man of the greatest understanding to speak of the higher beauties of poetry, as it is for a blind man lo speak of colours. But to cultivate such a talent was wholly foreign from the worldly sagacity and stern shrewdness of Johnson. As in his judgmenl of life and character, so in his criticism on poetry, he was a sort of free-ihinker. He suspected ihe refined of affectation; he rejected ihe enihusiactic as absurd , and he took it for granted that the mysterious wr