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a benevolent individual thus founds an institution, in order “ from tyme to tyme, and at all tymes hereafter, to place therein such numbers of poore children or scholars” as the funds may allow, it is but common justice and humanity that if the children of higher classes of families wish to enjoy the literary benefits of the institution they should maintain themselves and pay their instructors at their own charge, relinquishing the food and clothing of charity, as well as the college exhibitions, and church preferment, for the benefit of their more needy but deserving neighbours. The proper objects of these schools are not however the
very poor, but the children of respectable parents with large families and in straitened circumstances, who are above ordinary relief, but to whom honourable assistance may not be unwelcome.
In instituting the proposed schools attention must be paid to making them in every sense of the word respectable. The poor are influenced by trifling circumstances, and even the selection of a fortunate or unfortunate designation will have some effects upon their minds; the new institutions therefore should not be denominated charity schools or free schools. The epithet national would be well enough had it not been connected with controversy; but the phrase “ Royal British system” is of all others most improper, as being a paltry and unmanly puff. The best denomination would perhaps be simply THE PUBLIC SCHOOL, a name which would convey a correct idea without any
adventitious association of an unpleasant nature. The whole system, we need not say, should be mild and conciliating; and it is one of the greatest benefits of the new plan of education that by its firm and efficient discipline corporal punishment is nearly superseded. It appears in the evidence before us that some of our charity schools are at this moment very unpopular among the neighbouring poor on account of the severity of the master; and in consequence the establishments are not half-filled; a result always to be feared where the instructor has no personal interest, but the contrary, in increasing the number of his scholars. Those who have not observed the habits of the poor would be often surprised at their proud and indignant feelings on this subject; for, not adequately estimating the value of education, even a trifling circumstance is sufficient to disgust them, and to make them take away their children from the public school. The middle ranks of society are far less captious; they have a higher sense of the importance of education; they allow for provocation and exaggeration; and being aware that it is the interest of the instructor not to give unnecessary offence, they take for granted that upon the whole he acts as becomes his character and station, and are often willing to overlook occa
sional rigour on the ground of its being an indication of the master's zeal for the improvement of his pupils. Not so the poor : they cannot enter into these distinctions; they attribute all to passion and prejudice; they view themselves and their children as despised, and indignantly resolve that they will not
put upon” by the master of a charity school. We are not of course pleading for feebleness of discipline, or promulgating an absolute veto on corporal punishment; but we think it a great excellence in the new system that by its almost military regu- ' larity, and by keeping children constantly employed, it prevents what most schools on the old system are content with punishing. The advice of Solomon is often urged to justify undue and unchristian severity ; but it should be remembered that his opinions on this subject are spoken only to parents, amongst whom we should be the first to repeat them; knowing, as we do, that want of regularity and discipline, feebleness of exertion, false tenderness, and indiscreet interference, are the besetting sins of domestic education. In such cases, and when other means are found ineffectual, we should readily inculcate the advice of the mån of wisdom: “ Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul;” but we are persuaded that Solomon would never have thought it necessary to give this advice to masters of charity schools, among whom all the temptations usually lie on the other side, and to whom such injunctions as, “ Brethren, be patient with long-suffering forbear one another in love-provoke not your children to wrath”—would usually be more appropriate than those general proverbs which are made a pretext for confounding inability with inattention, and pitiable ignorance with incorrigible obstinacy.
But we must forbear entering on the wide field that is insensibly opening before us, and shall content ourselves with but one brief suggestion more; namely, the necessity of providing suitable books for the use of the educated poor in every parish throughout the kingdom. If we instruct persons to read, we cannot prevent a large number of them from making frequent use of their faculty; and therefore, both in order to check the sale of improper books, and to spread such as are really good, it would be wise to revive the useful but almost forgotten plan of parochial libraries. Happily, without much expense, there is an abundance of books and tracts quite as amusing as the once popular sophisms of Thomas Paine himself; and in the endeavour to carry parish libraries into active effect it will be necessary to maintain a competition with the itinerant vender, not only by
gratuitous circulation, but in the articles of interest and amusement, as well as useful information. All who know-and who does not know ?-Mrs. H. More's Cheap Repository tracts, will see what genius, regulated by piety, and a competent knowledge of mankind, may effect towards curtailing the popularity of licentious novels, and demoralizing and democratical books, by supplying the poor with antidotes, equally cheap and quite som
pleasing. Upon the whole we sincerely believe that, should Parliament in its wisdom see fit to adopt the proposed plan of education, every succeeding year will send into society a fresh supply of children to renovate the strength of their country, to improve its inhe ritance of virtue, and to endow it with a perpetuity of health and youth.
Art. IV.-The Works of Thomas Gray: Vol. I. containing the
Poems, with critical Notes, a Life of the Author, and an Essay on his Poetry.-Vol. II. containing the Letters; with important Addititions and Corrections from his own Manuscripts. By the Rev. John Mitford. 2 vols. 4to. pp. 1004. Mawman.
London, 1816. There does not seem, at first sight, any very cogent necessity for another edition of the works of Gray, after the splendid monument erected to his fame by a college of Cambridge, under the auspices of Mr. Mathias. The present editor rests his claims on the design of presenting the poetry of Gray in a more correct and complete form, and on the enlarged correspondence. Of any superior correctness in the editing of the poems we are not aware; and, if compared with the collection of Mr. Mathias, augmented by the translations from Propertius and Tasso, the poetry of the present volumes can scarcely be thought more complete; while the want of the notes on Aristophanes and Plato, and the geographical disquisitions on India and Persia, attaches the same charge of incompleteness to the general work. It is indeed less costly, and that is always something.
As to the Letters, it does not always follow that “ more last words," or the last sweepings of a dead author's escritoir, must necessarily add either to his own reputation or to the amusement or edification of his readers. Wilkes's presents to Polly of partridges and other good things, and his description of his fine waistcoat, which was “ blue, quite blue," have not exalted our ideas of that lively wit, of whom a mob-patriot of that day
in his zeal observed that “ he squinted no more than a gentleman should do.”
Those silly things were mere silly things, but Gray's silly things are the silly things of a wit and a scholar; and his serious opinions are always worth hearing: we are therefore not sorry to have more of them.
Gray seems to us a remarkable and warning instance of the laborious idleness of a fastidious and capricious man of letters. Atqui vultus erat multa et præclara minantis. His admirers boast of his being the most learned man in Europe:” but when we ask what he has left us, they resort to the elegance of his leisure and the innocence of his life. His odes, say they, as all else he wrote, were harmless, and they showed what he was capable of performing; his letters, also, indicate all manner of excellent qualities and accomplishments. The argument amounts merely to this: that he could have written more and better than he did, if he would have done so; and if he did not, who shall blame him ? are not a man's time and pursuits his own?
But we should have been more thoroughly satisfied of the solidity, extent, and variety of these attainments, had the proofs been more numerous and more important. A man of talents has those talents entrusted to him for beneficial purposes, as it respects not merely himself, but others. Johnson, who was constitutionally indolent, struggled, not only for the necessity of subsistence, but on a principle of moral duty, to enlighten and instruct the world; and his works survive him. Lastly, Gray wished for literary distinction; he talked, reasoned, and corresponded as an author; yet all the parturitions of his zeal, his pride, his ambition, and his desire of usefulness, produced but a handful of odes, a budget of notes and fragments, and a bundle of sensible letters !
That he was capable of doing much, of executing magnificent plans of erudition, of improving knowledge, and of refining taste, deepens our regret at the waste of his powers, and the abortiveness of his schemes. When in Italy, Gray, like Addison, looked around him with a traveller's eye, minuted his remarks in a journal, and selected illustrations from the classics; but he has not, like Addison, left us his travels in Italy. He studied architecture in the works of the Romans and of Palladio; but his observations are shrunk into the
letter. He studied painting in the school of Florence, catalogued pictures, and classed painters; and Walpole, owning obligations to him, says that Gray “condescended to correct what he never would have condescended to write:” and accordingly Gray never condescended to write anecdotes on painting: Pennant was indebted to him for information on the antiquities of Lon
VOL. IX. NO. XVII.
don; but from Gray we have nothing on antiquities.
The recondite stores of English history were familiar to him; but he has not, like Gillies, illustrated by example his historical professorship. He intended to publish the “ History of English Poetry, which he would probably have done without falling into the errors and mistakes of Warton; but his intention exhausted itself in the remarks on old English rhythm and rhyme, and on the poems of Lydgate: and at the close of life we find him expressing regret at having done so little in literature; that literature which was his food, and hope, and pride. Probably his attainments were too multifarious ; and energy and opportunity were lost amidst the distraction of choice, and the dissipation of variety.
Gray is considered as the master of a Grecian school in English poetry; under which Collins is also classed. The odes of the former are popularly thought to resemble those of Pindar; this is not so certain as that those of the latter assimilate with the chorusses of the Greek dramatists. We have never been able to discover in Gray's style much that is congenial with the cast of thought or expression, or with the flow of numbers, which they who read Pindar in his original language, and not in the set and formal stanzas of his translator West, are accustomed to recognize in the lofty Theban. We should almost
pronounce that things can well be more unlike each other than the venerable and grand simplicity of Pindar, whose sentiments appear to emanate from a deep religious impulse, whose images glow into life as if suddenly created by the plastic breath of inspiration; and that polished stateliness, that laboured pomp, that smoothness of sound, those reflected thoughts and borrowed imagery, and that eternal ambition of exciting surprise and wonder, which distinguish the odes of Gray.
The probability is that Gray imagined he was really working after the model of Pindar; but even in his direct imitations he betrays the want of a just feeling of Pindar's peculiar manner.
“ Perching on the sceptred hand
With ruffled plumes and flagging wing:
The terror of his beak, and lightnings of his eye.”
specimen; but here, as in numerous other passages of the same poet, the distinct peculiarities of the imagery are lost in a cloud of words. In the original every thing is slow, imperceptibly gradual, soothing, and solemn; 'in Gray all is sound and fury. The spontaneousness of Pindar, his faculty of pouring out words and figures and reflections, with a calm energy and unconscious