« 上一頁繼續 »
COMMEMORATION OF THOMSON.
To this truly charming Letter shall be added, the eulogy of the celebrated Mrs. Bellamy :-“ About this period, that much-admired poet THOMSON was called by the great Disposer of events to enjoy that felicity, in a happier region, he had in vain strove to deserve in this bustling world. His death seemed to throw an universal gloom over every susceptible mind. Whilst they lamented the loss of his great poetical talents, all wept for the removal of so good a man! The softness of his manners, his unbounded philanthropy, and, indeed, his possession of every valuable quality that can adorn a human being, endeared him to every one who had the happiness to be acquainted with him. That it was my fortunate lot to be upon terms of intimacy with him, is one of the most pleasing circumstances of my life that recollection can revive. Accept, departed shade, this tender tear a votive tribute to that friendship with which I was honoured by thee!”
The Earl of Buchan, who put up the brass tablet, already noticed, in Richmond, hath instituted an annual commemoration of the Poet's fame, at Ednam, the place of his nativity. The following exquisite Address, by Burns, was recited on the occasion :
To the Shade of Thomson, on crowning his Bust at Ednam,
Unfolds her tender mantle green,
Or tunes Æolian strains betweer;
While Suinmer with a matron grace
Retreats to Dryburg's cooling shade,
The progress of the spiky blade;
By Tweed erects his aged head
Each creature on his hounty fed;
The hills whence classic Yarrow flows,
Or sweeping wild a waste of snows,
Shall bloom that wreath thou well hast won,
Within the church of Richmond may be seen a mural monument to the memory of the Rev. Gilbert Wakefield, B.A , whose remains lie interred in the adjoining cemetry. He was brother of the Rev. Thomas Wakefield, B. A., for many years the much respected minister of Richmond, and lately deceased. Their father, the Rev. George Wakefield, A, M., was also minister of this parish as well as vicar of Kingston, and lies buried in the chancel of this church. These livings were given him by a brcther clergyman, the Rev. Mr. Bailey, of Langley, in Derbyshire, who assigned the following reason to his friends, they having reproached him for not taking them to himself: “ No," says he, “ I am satisfied with my present situation. Now were I to go to Richmond the King
GILBERT WAKEFIELD'S WORKS.
would be my parishioner. I must consequently go to court. Then I shall be looking forward of course to a prebend or a canonry. As soon as I am well settled in a stall I shall grow uneasy for a bishopric, and then eager after a translation to a better. In due time LAMBETH will be the fond object of my wishes, and when I am stationed there I must be miserable because I can rise no bigher. Had I not, then, better be quiet in my present condition than be always wishing, always obtaiping, but never satisfied ?” This anecdote ought not to be forgotten; such ratiocination does not occur in the ordinary annals of clerical preferment. This worthy divine, it must be confessed, had learnt the invaluable lesson of Christian contentment.
Mr. Gilbert Wakefield, born at Nottingham in 1756, and educated at Cambridge, was a minister of the Church of England. He officiated as curate at Liverpool, never had a living, and soon withdrew himself from her communion. He resided during the latter part of his life at Hackney, and for a short period was classical tutor at the Dissenting College then recently established at that place, as he had formerly been in the academy at Warrington. In 1792 appeared his Translation of the New TESTAMENT with Notes, in three volumes, with a most respectable list of sub. scribers. It has some admirable emendations, adhering as much as possible to the old version. He published also his Own Memoirs; Replies to Paine's Age of Reason; his Silva Critica, the object of which was to illustrate the Scriptures by light borrowed
GILBERT WAKEFIELD's Dearu.
from the philology of Greece and Rome, and likewise a superb edition of LUCRETIUS in three quarto volumes, dedicated to that illustrious senator the Hon. Charles James Fox. He printed an edition of Virgil and Horace, and a volume of “ Notes on Pope,” as well as an edition of his Version of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. As an ardent friend of civil and religious liberty he was the author of several political pamphlets ; one of which, in 1798, was, from a few intemperate expressions, deemed a libel, for which he was imprisoned two years in Dorchester gaol. Soon after his liberation he was carried off by a fever, September, 1801, in the 45th year of his age. In addition to his own Memoirs, another volume was added, after his death, by Mr. J. T. Rutt and Mr. A. Wainwright, who have paid an appropriate tribute of respect to his memory.
Miss Aikin, niece to the celebrated Mrs. Barbauld, has these elegant lines to his memory:
Friend of departed worth, whose pilgrim feet
And mutely eloquent in anguish raise
This sacred marble, it has been already mentioned, adorns Richmond church, and the INSCRIPTION is an epitoine of the history of the deceased :
“ In the adjoining church-yard, at the east end of the chancel, lie the remains of GILBERT WAKEFIELD, B. A., formerly Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, third son of George Wakefield, A. M. late vicar of Kingston, and minister of this parish : he died September 9, 1801, aged 45. Simplicity of manners and benevolence of temper, united with eminent intellectual accomplishments, greatly endeared him in private life, To the public he was known by high attainments in biblical and classical literature, and the honesty and intrepidity of his endeavours to promote the cause of truth and liberty. Sustained by the affection of numerous and estimable friends, as well as by the testimony of conscience, he endured with fortitude a state prosecution and two years' imprisonment for his • Reply to the Address of the Bishop of Landaff's Address to the People of Great Britain.' Returning from the county prison of Dorchester with an unbroken spirit but impaired strength, and resuming his