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NOTES

ON THE

SIXTH EPISTLE.

NOTE 1. Ver. 60.

The simple grandeur of ber seaman's heart.

The character of the British seaman is perhaps the most perfect and pre-eminent of all professional characters; or, in other words, the character possesses, in the highest degree, the peculiar and varied excellencies which the profession requires : yet, though it is universally allowed that no class of men have been more zealous or successful in the pursuit of glory, perhaps none have been so fcantily requited with those memorials of merit, which are necessary to make glory what Thucydides very happily called it--a possession for ever. May the justice and spirit of the nation be animated to such a completion of the projected naval monument, as may most gratify our present heroes, and most happily produce to our country, in a future age, a similar succession of defenders !

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Demosthenes has eloquently displayed this grand use of public monuments, in closing his Oration for the liberty of the Rhodians :

...... Νομιζετε τοινυν ταυτα αναθηναι τες προγονες υμων, εχ ινα θαυμαζητε ταυτα θεωρεντες μονον. αλλ ινα και μιμησθε τας των αναθεντων αρετας.

The Abbé Guasco has made some just remarks on the statues of antiquity equally applicable to this interesting subject :

“ Il seroit à souhaiter que ceux à qui la dispensation des recompenses " et des temoignages d'estime publique est confiée, ne perdissent ja“ mais de vue les idées des anciens à cet égard. Chez eux c'étoit “ l'interet même de la patrie qui exigeoit et reclamoit les monumens “ honorifiques, dûs au mérite et à la vertu.

....iii....... “ Ces gages immortels de la reconnoiffance nationale furent une des “ principales sources de ces vertus et de cet heroisme dont l'histoire “ ancienne nous offre des traits fi frequents. -De l'Ufage des Statues, p. 237

NOTE II. Ver. 74.

Which even agony has fmild to bear.

The praise, so fingularly deserved, and so tenderly bestowed, was excited by a few remarkable productions ; the more remarkable, as the dear fufferer was, at the time, reduced to such decrepitude, that he was obliged to endure a great increase of pain whenever he indulged his fancy in a brief, constrained, and hafty use of the pencil! Yet under these fevere disadvantages he executed fome original designs that are thought, by lefs partial judges, to promise great future excellence, if Heaven graciously restores him from a state of the most calamitous and complicated sufferings, which he has now supported, for more than two years, with the mildest magnanimity. My reader has an opportunity of judging if I speak too partially of the designs executed by this dear invalid, as the Death of Demosthenes (which he drew, reclining himself on the couch of pain, for the affectionate purpose of decorating this Poem) is one of those I allude to. He will at the same time have the candour to recollect that this design is literally the production of a youth severely obstructed in the exercise of early talent ; and that “the sculptor's art (by which is not meant merely finishing “ his compositions in marble, but forming, with corređness, figures “.in any material) demands infinite labour and patience (and maturity 6 of life) to carry it to perfection.”

I borrow the words of an admirable little Treatise, intitled “ Thoughts on Outline, Sculpture, &c.” by Mr. George Cumberland, an author who can employ, with alternate and masterly command, both the pen and the pencil.

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NOTE III. Ver. 144.

And sigbing, bids the imperfect pæan close. I could wish (yet I must not expect such a with can be realized) that all readers who may be subject to affli&ion like that which has made the close of this poem so different from what the author meant it to be when the Work was begun, might find, in the perusal of it, a lenient relief similar to what I have found, when I could force myself to pursue a composition frequently interrupted by paternal anxiety, and frequently resumed from the influence of the same powerful affection, to gratify an intelligent and generous invalid. He often requested me to pursue my Work at a little distance from him, that it might save me from sympathising too intensely in pangs that I could

not relieve. Sometimes I could obey his tender injunctions ; and fometimes I have been almost on the point of exclaiming, in the pathetic words of

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But at last, through a long viciffitude of hopes and fears for health infinitely dearer to me than my own, I am arrived at the close of the Work which this beloved promoter of my suspended studies has so kindly wished me to complete. I deliver it to the candour of the Public; not insensible of its imperfections, yet with feelings of gratitude to the great Giver of all gifts, that, under the bitterest disquietude and distress of heart, he has still granted me such powers of application, as have enabled me to sooth the corporeal anguilh of a most meri. torious and long-suffering child, and to beguile many, many hours of paternal affection.

THE END OF THE NOTES.

POSTSCRIPT

TO

MR. FLAXMA N.

W hen the tide of affliction begins to flow, how dark and deep is the current!

In a few days after I had dispatched to the press the MS. of the introductory letter prefixed to this Poem, I received the affecting intelligence that my enchanting and inestimable friend Cowper had expired; and your beloved disciple followed, within a week, that dear departed genius, who had honoured his childhood with the tenderest regard.

I have now to thank you, my excellent compassionate friend, for a very hasty, but a very kind visit to the dear deceased object of our welldeserved affection and regret.

I am not afraid of your thinking that I exaggerate his merit, and speak too long or too loudly on a most dutiful child and a most diligent disciple: to us, indeed, his juvenile talents and virtues had endeared him to such a degree, that our hearts, I believe, are perfe&ly in unison, while they re-echo his praise.

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