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upon a poetical question, has a right to be heard, said, “That he would regulate his opinion of the reigning taste by the fate of Dyer's Fleece ; for, if that were ill-received, he should not think it any longer reasonable to expect fame from excellence".'
* Akenside was no impartial judge. innumerable and of a high order. In He helped Dyer to give a sort of point of imagination and purity of finishing to The Fleece,' as the poet style I am not sure that he is not himself says. Hughes Corres. iii. 59. superior to any writer in verse since
Wordsworth (Memoirs, i. 365), in the time of Milton.' Wordsworth 1811, sending Lady Beaumont his adds that in the sonnet (11. 5, 6, 13] sonnet on Dyer (Misc. Sonnets, xvii), 'is one whole line from The Fleece, adds : If you have not read The and two other expressions. The Fleece I would strongly recommend line and one of the expressions is it to you. ... It is in several places from Eng. Poets, lviii. 204; the other dry and heavy, but its beauties are expression is from p. 145.
APPENDIX S (PAGE 343) [The full title of the Miscellany, in which Grongar Hill for the second time appeared, is Miscellaneous Poems by several Hands, published by David Lewis, London: Printed by J. Watts, 1726. David Lewis, as Mr. Sargeaunt, the author of Annals of Westminster School, informs me, was not Under Master; his name not appearing on the records, where the names of the Under Masters, as on the foundation, are entered. It is, however, very probable that he was one of the ushers who were not on the foundation-our knowledge of their names depending on chance mention. Johnson's statement moreover_is borne out by Lewis's dedication of his Miscellaneous Poems to Lord Charles Noel Somerset, afterwards fourth Duke of Beaufort, as known to him while still at school. If by this Lewis meant his pupil at Westminster, the period in which Lewis was usher must have been about 1720-6. For Edmund Lewis also an usher, a little earlier, see Annals of Westminster School, p. 56.]
1 ILLIAM SHENSTONE, the son of Thomas Shenstone
and Anne Pen, was born in November, 1714, at the Leasowes in Hales-Owen, one of those insulated districts which, in the division of the kingdom, was appended, for some reason not now discoverable, to a distant county; and which, though surrounded by Warwickshire and Worcestershire, belongs to Shropshire, though perhaps thirty miles distant from any other
part of it. 2 He learned to read of an old dame, whom his poem of The
School-mistress 3 has delivered to posterity; and soon received such delight from books that he was always calling for fresh entertainment, and expected that when any of the family went to market a new book should be brought him, which when it came was in fondness carried to bed and laid by him. It is said that when his request had been neglected, his mother wrapped up a piece of wood of the same form, and pacified him for the night. 3 As he grew older he went for a while to the Grammar-school
: 'Shenstone's matriculation entry appears as “Gul, Shenstone, 17, Tho. fil. Wickstone in Com. Leicest. Gen. fil."' Macleane's Pemb. Coll. p. 370.
"He was born on Nov. 13, 1714, and baptised at Hales-Owen on Dec. 6. Dict. Nat. Biog. The matriculation entry shows that he was not born at Hales-Owen, but in either Wigstone Magna or Wigstone Parva, Leicestershire. The unusual interval between birth and baptism is probably due to the birth not taking place at the Shenstones' home. The Vicars of both Wigstones kindly inform me that there is no entry about him in their registers. It was baptisms, not births, that were recorded.
Graves, in his Recollections of Shenstone, 1788, p. 11, places the birth on Nov. 18. He adds that his mother's father owned the small estate of Harborough in Hagley,
half of which she inherited. When her son succeeded to it, it made his fortune about £300 a year.'
» About ten miles distant. Shenstone celebrates his native county in The School-Mistress. Speaking of Shrewsbury cakes he continues : · Whose honour'd names th'inven
tive city own, Rendering through Britain's isle Salopia's praises known.'
Eng. Poets, lix, 297. Eng. Poets, lix. 286; post, SHENSTONE, 8, 32. The motto to it is :
* Auditae voces, vagitus et ingens, Infantumque animae flentesin limine
primo. VIRGIL, Aeneid vi. 426. 'Now as they enter'd doleful screams
they hear, And tender cries of infants pierce
the ear.' PITT, vi. 592. * In the first edition, new.
in Hales-Owen, and was placed afterwards with Mr. Crumpton, an eminent school-master at Solihul', where he distinguished himself by the quickness of his progress.
When he was young (June, 1724) he was deprived of his 4 father, and soon after (August, 1726) of his grandfather, and was with his brother, who died afterwards unmarried, left to the care of his grandmother, who managed the estate.
From school he was sent in 1732 to Pembroke-College in 5 Oxford”, a society which for half a century has been eminent for English poetry and elegant literature? Here it appears that he found delight and advantage; for he continued his name in the book ten years, though he took no degree *. After the first four years he put on the Civilian's gowns, but without shewing any intention to engage in the profession.
About the time when he went to Oxford, the death of his 6 grandmother devolved his affairs to the care of the reverend Mr. Dolman of Brome in Staffordshire, whose attention he always mentioned with gratitude 6.
At Oxford he employed himself upon English poetry?; and 7 in 1737 published a small Miscellany, without his name 8.
Solihul is seven miles from 5. He wore the gown of a student of Birmingham on the Warwick Road. civil law, See Boswell's Johnson, vi. Add. Of his inscription on an urn to p. 44, for Johnson's rejection in his his cousin, Miss Dolman (Eng. Poets, application for the mastership in lix. 304), Landor wrote :—The ten1735, and for 'ye late master Mr. der and virtuous Shenstone, in writCrompton's huffing the Foeofees. ing the most beautiful of epitaphs, Jago (ante, WEST, 15), who was one was unaware how near he stood to of Crompton's pupils, writes in his Petrarca. "Heu quanto minus est Edgehill, 1767, p. 101:
cum aliis (reliquis] versari quam tui "With throbbing heart to the stern meminisse!”! LANDOR, * Longer discipline
(turn'd.' Prose Works, ed. Crump, ii. 103. Of pedagogue morose I sad re- Shenstone was harassed with a
Lady Luxborough, in her Letters Chancery suit by 'young D- [Dolto Shenstone, p. 146, says of one of man), the only near relation I have the coaches from Birmingham to by the mother's side.' Works, iii. London :- It breakfasts at Henley 230, 273, 277. [in Arden], and lies at Chipping Nor- 7' He amused himself with English ton; goes early next day to Oxford ; poetry, and employed himself in the stays there all day and night, and study of mathematics, &c.' Graves's gets on the third day to London.' Recollections, p. 23. For a curious See Appendix T.
account of the society of Pembroke " 'A large mulberry-tree in the College see ib. pp. 13-27, quoted by Fellows' Garden was called Shen- me in Dr. Johnson : His Friends stone's tree. The small tables in the and his Critics, p. 37. Common Room were made from this 8 Poems upon Various Occasions, when it was cut down.' Macleane's written for the Entertainment of the Pemb. Coll. p. 278.
Author, and printed for the Amuse
8 He then for a time wandered about, to acquaint himself with
life, and was sometimes at London, sometimes at Bath, or any other place of publick resort; but he did not forget his poetry. He published in 1740 his Fudgement of Hercules, addressed to Mr. Lyttelton', whose interest he supported with great warmth at an election ?: this was two years afterwards followed by The
School-mistress 3. 9 Mr. Dolman, to whose care he was indebted for his ease and
leisure, died in 1745, and the care of his own fortune now fell upon him. He tried to escape it a while, and lived at his house with his tenants, who were distantly related; but, finding that imperfect possession inconvenient, he took the whole estate into his own hands, more to the improvement of its beauty than the
increase of its produce. 10
Now was excited his delight in rural pleasures, and his ambition of rural elegance; he began from this time to point his prospects, to diversify his surface, to entangle his walks, and to wind his waters", which he did with such judgement and such fancy as made his little domain the envy of the great and the admiration of the skilful: a place to be visited by travellers, and copied by designers. Whether to plant a walk in undulating curves, and to place a bench at every turn where there is an object to catch the view; to make water run where it will be heard, and to stagnate where it will be seen; to leave intervals where the eye will be pleased, and to thicken the plantation where there is something to be hidden, demands any great powers of mind, I will not enquire : perhaps a sullen and surly speculator may think such performances rather the sport than the business of ment
of a few Friends prejudic'd in 3 Ante, SHENSTONE, 2; post, 32. his Favour. Oxford, 1737. In the The School-Mistress, A Poem, price copy in the British Museum is tran- 6d. Gent. Mag. 1742, p. 280 ; Eng. scribed a note made by G. Steevens Poets, lix. 286. It first appeared in in another copy. “It is very rare, twelve stanzas in 1737 in Poems upon because Mr. Shenstone took uncom- Several Occasions, p. 17. In 1742 mon pains to suppress it, by collect- it was published separately in twentying and destroying the copies wher- eight stanzas, with numerous corever he met with them.'
rections. In the final version two In the Dedication Shenstone de- stanzas were omitted and nine added. scribes his poetry as 'the product of 'They form'd their streams to a Young Genius, little exercis'd in please the view, versification.'
And bade them wind, as serpents Eng. Poets, lix. 199; post, SHEN
do.' STONE, 31. An extract is given in The Progress of Taste, Eng. Poets, Gent. Mag. 1741, p. 215.
Shenstone's Works, iii. 23, 27.
human reason'. But it must be at least confessed that to embellish the form of nature is an innocent amusement, and some praise must be allowed by the most supercilious observer to him who does best what such multitudes are contending to do well.
This praise was the praise of Shenstone; but, like all other 11 modes of felicity, it was not enjoyed without its abatements. Lyttelton was his neighbour and his rival, whose empire, spacious and opulent?, looked with disdain on the petty State that appeared behind it. For a while the inhabitants of Hagley affected to tell their acquaintance of the little fellow that was trying to make himself admired; but when by degrees the Leasowes forced themselves into notice, they took care to defeat the curiosity which they could not suppress, by conducting their visitants perversely to inconvenient points of view, and introducing them at the wrong end of a walk to detect a deception; injuries of which Shenstone would heavily complain. Where
* Shenstone's defence may be found 5 Graves, while denying any' rivalin his own lines (Rural Elegance, ship’ between the Lytteltons and 11. 169-172, Eng. Poets, lix. 87) Shenstone, allows that the poet And sure there seem of human kind would sometimes peevishly comSome born to shun the solemn plain that they and their company strife;
often went to the principal points of Some for amusive tasks design'd, view, without waiting for any one to
To soothe the certain ills of life.' conduct them regularly through the ? In Shenstone's Works, ii. 287, is whole walks.' Recollections, p. 83. a plan of the Leasowes with a 6 This passage and the Life of description. Among Goldsmith's Lyttelton roused the anger of a "unacknowledged Essays’ is one on whole tribe of blues, with Mrs. Monthe Leasowes, entitled The History tagu at their head.' At Mrs. Thrale's of a Poet's Garden. Works, iii. 340. table 'Dr. Johnson cried:"Mr.
Johnson recorded on Sept. 19, Pepys, I understand you are offended 1774:-'We visited the Leasowes. by my Life of Lord Lyttelton. What It was rain, yet we visited all the is it you have to say against it?" He waterfalls. There are in one place made Seward repeat 'fresh instances fourteen falls in a short line.' Bos- of Lyttelton's illiberal behaviour to well's Johnson, v. 457.
Shenstone.' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, Wesley, who visited it in 1782, ii. 45 ; post, LYTTELTON, In. wrote: --All this is comprised in the The following passages from Lady compass of three miles! I doubt if Luxborough's Letters to Shenstone, it be exceeded by anything in Europe.' 1775, pp. 58, 158, justify Johnson :Journal, 1827, iv. 226.
Oct. 16, 1748. If your expostulations For Horace Walpole's descrip- with Mr. Lyttelton were brusques, tion of the enchanting scenes of the his visit was as much so.' Dec. park' at Hagley see his Letters, ii. 352. 1749. Mr. Lyttelton and Mr. Miller "When from behind there starts find so much at the Leasowes to some petty state.'
raise their envy, and consequently DRYDEN, Conquest of Grenada, and their spleen, that it is happy for them
some one object offers that they can
part, i. 1.