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73 Dr. Beattie was Professor of Moral Philosophy, Marischal College, Aberdeen, and author of a variety of interesting publications. His Minstrel consists of two books, delineating the Progress of Genius ; another book was to have been added, so that the poem remains incomplete. Of its exquisite merit the fol- lowing stanzas constitute a sufficient proof :
“ Hail awful scenes! that calm the troubled breast
Vain man! is grandeur given to gay attire?
True dignity is His—whose tranquil mind
And from embattled clouds, emerging slow,
And hoary mountain-cliffs shone faintly from afar! This amiable man, however, died in the year 1803, overwhelmed by domestic afflictions, having buried his only children, two sons of very promising ability. The eldest had been appointed by the King to succeed him in the chair of moral philosophy. His partner, indeed, survived him; but she had for years previous to his decease laboured under the severest malady that can afflict the children of men. So mixed, alas ! is the present imperfect condition of humanity.
I once heard this good man deliver a lecture to his pupils at Aberdeen. In person he was low and stout, of swarthy complexion, a fine eye, and features given to reflection. The lecture was on Imagination ; his voice weak, but distinct; his whole manner evidently marked by a nervous tremulousness. He concluded by recommending to his pupils the Vision of Mirza as the most beautiful effusion of imagination in the English language. His favourite author was Addison. Indeed he and Addison resembled each other in their talents, in their tempers, and in their efforts throughout all their writings— to refine as well as to ameliorate the condition of mankind.
The Gardens of Kew, with their various embellishments, must not pass by altogether unnoticed. They were laid out under the direction of Sir William Chambers, who observes, “ that originally the ground was one continued dead flat, the soil in general barren,
without wood or water; but what was once a desert is now an Eden.” The orangery or green-house, the temple of the sun, the physic or exotic garden, the flower garden, the marquees, the temples of Bellona and of Æolus, the house of Confucius, the temple of Victory, but above all, the GREAT PAGODA, are entitled to attention. It was erected in 1762, and is 160 feet in altitude. There is a staircase in the centre of the building. The prospects open as you advance in height, and from the top you command a view on all sides, and in some directions to an extent of forty miles over a rich and variegated country. Near the great pagoda is a grand mosque, on a rising ground, with three doors on three sides, each having an Arabic inscription in golden characters, taken from the Koran, consonant with the soundest theology :
Let there be no force in religion !
Make not any likeness unto God! The Exotic GARDEN, formerly under the care of the celebrated botanist Mr. Aiton, is enriched with many new plants, not only from New South Wales, but from other distant parts of the world. I visited these gardens when myself and family were passing a few days with our kind friends at Barnes, and was highly gratified. Sir William Chambers had the laying out of these gardens, and is thought to have executed his task with judgment. He seems to have been himself pleased with what he had done, for he wrote a long and particular account of all the alterations and im.