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His translations of Northern and Welsh Poetry deserve praise; the imagery is preserved, perhaps often improved; but the language is unlike the language of other poets.
In the character of his Elegy I rejoice to concur with the common reader; for by the common sense of readers uncorrupted with literary prejudices, after all the refinements of subtilty and the dogmatism of learning, must be finally decided all claim to poetical honours. The Church-yard abounds with images which find a mirrour in every niind, and with sentiments to which every bosom returns an echo. The four stanzas beginning Yet even these bones, are to me
original: I have never seen the notions in any other place; yet he that reads them here, persuades hiinself that he has always felt them. Had Gray written often thus, it had been vain to blame, and useless to praise him.
*** e m
A LONG STOR Y *.
IN Britain's ille, no matter where, An antient pile of building stands : The Huntingdons and Hattons there Employ'd the power of Fairy hands
* When Mr. Gray had put his last hand to the celebrated Elegy in the Country Church-yard, he communicated it to his friend Mr. Walpole, whose good taste was too much charmed with it to suffer him to with-hold the fight of it from his acquaintance ; accordingly it was thewn about for some time in manuscript, and received with all the applause it so justly merited. Amongst the rest of the fashionable. world, for to those only it was at present communicated, Lady Cobham, who now lived at the mansion-house at Stoke-Pogis, had read and admired it. She wished to be acquainted with the author ; accordingly her relation Mifs Speed and Lady Schaub, then at her house, undertook to bring this about by making him the firit visit. He happened to be from home when the Ladies arrived at his Aunt's folitary manfion; and, when he returned, was surprized to find, written on one of his
To raise the ceiling's fretted height, Each pannel in atchievements cloathing, Rich windows that exclude the light, And passages, that lead to nothing *
papers in the parlour where he usually read, the following note: “ Lady Schaub’s compliments to Mr. Gray ; she is “ forry not to have found him at home, to tell him that Lady. “ Brown is very well.” This necessarily obliged him to return ihe visit, and soon after induced him tu compose a ludia crous account of this little adventure, for the amusement of the Ladies in question. He wrote it in ballad measure, and entitled it a Long Story: when it was handed about in manuscript, nothing could be more various than the opinions concerning it; by some it was thought a master-piece of original humour, by others a wild and fantastic farrago; and when it was published, the sentiments of good judges were equally divided about it. See Mr. Mason’s Memoirs, vol. III. p. 125.
of The manfion-house at Stoke-Pogis, then in the poffeffion of Viscountei; Cobham. The style of building, which we now call Queen Elizabeth's, is here admirably described, both with regard to its beauties and defects; and the third and fourth fianzas delineate the fantastic manners of her time with equal truth and humour. The house formerly belonged to the Earls of Huntingdon and the family of Hatton. M.
Full oft within the spacious walls,
His bushy beard, and Moe-ftrings green, His high-crown'd hat, and fattin doublet, Moy'd the fout heart of England's Queen, Though Pope and Spaniard could not trouble it..
What, in the very first beginning!
A house there is (and that's enough) From whence one fatal morning issues
* Sir Christopher Hatton, promoted by Queen Elizabeth for his gracelul perton and fine dancing. G. - Prawls were a sort of figure-dance, then in vogue, and probably deemed as elegant as our nodern Cotillions, or ftill more modern Qua-. drilles., M.