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he became physician to St. Thomas's Hospital; having read the Gulstonian Lectures in Anatomy, he began to give, for the Cronian Lecture, a history of the revival of Learning, from which he foon defifted; and, in conversation, he very eagerly forced himself into no. tice by an ambitious oftentation of ele. gance and literature. :
His Discourse on the Dysentery (1764) was considered as a very conspi, cuous specimen of Latinity, which entitled him to the fame height of place among the scholars as he possessed before among the wits; and he might per. haps have risen to a greater elevation of character, but that his studies were ended with his life, by a putrid fever, June 23, 1770, in the forty-ninth year of his age.
AKEN SIDE is to be considered as a didactick and lyrick poet. His great work is the Pleasures of Imagination; a performance which, published, as it was, at the age of twenty-three, raised expectations which were not afterwards very amply satisfied. It has undoubtedly a just claim to very particular notice, as an example of great felicity of genius, and uncommon amplitude of acquisitions, of a young mind stored
with images, and much exercised in combining and comparing them.
With the philosophical or religious tenets of the author I have nothing to do; my business is with his poetry. The subject is well-chosen, as it includes all images that can strike or please, and thus comprises every species of poetical delight. The only difficulty is in the choice of examples and illustrations, and it is not easy in such exuberance of matter to find the middle point between penury and satiety. The parts seem artificially disposed, with sufficient coherence, so as that they cannot change their places without injury to the general design.
His images are displayed with such luxuriance of expression, that they are hidden, like Butler's Moon, by a Veil of Light; they are forms fantastically lost under superfluity of dress. Pars minima eft ipsa Puella sui. The words are mul. tiplied till the sense is hardly perceived; attention deserts the mind, and settles in the ear. The reader wanders through the gay diffusion sometimes amazed, and sometimes delighted; but, after many turnings in the flowery labyrinth, comes out as he went in. He remarked little, and laid hold on nothing.
To his versification justice requires that praise should not be denied. In the general fabrication of his lines he is perhaps superior to any other writer
of blank verse; his flow is smooth, and his pauses are musical; but the concatenation of his verses is commonly too long continued, and the full close does not récur with sufficient frequency. The sense is carried on through a long intertexture of complicated clauses, and as nothing is distinguished, nothing is remembered.
The 'exemption which blank verse affords from the neceffity of clofing the fense with the couplet, betrays luxu. riant and active minds into such indul. gence, that they pile image upon image, ornament upon ornament, and are not eafily' persuaded to close the sense at all. Blank verse will therefore, I fear, be too often found in defcription exube.