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THE LOVE OF PRAISE.
What will not men attempt for sacred praise?
THE LANGUID LADV.
The languid lady next appears in state,
WILLIAM FALCONER. 1730—1769.
William FALCoxta was the son of a barber in EdinlHtrgh, and was born In the year 1730. He had very few advantages of education, and in early life went to sea in the merchant service. He was afterwards mate of a vessel that was wrecked in the Levant, anil was one of three only, out of the crew, that were saved; a catastrophe wldch formed die subject of his future poem, "The Shipwreck," which he published in 1702, and on which his chief claim to merit rests. Early in 17C9 his "Marine Dictionary" appeared, which has been spoken highly of by those who are capable of estimating its merits. In the latter part of the same year he embarked in the Aurora, for India, but the vessel was never heard of after she passed the Cape, "so thai the poet of the Shipwreck may he supposed to have perished by the same species of calamity which he had rehearsed."'
The subject of the Shipwreck and the fate of its author, bespeak an uncom mon partiality in its favor. If wo pay respect to the ingenious scholar, who can produce agreeable verses amidst the shades of retirement or the shelves of his library, how much more interest must we take in the "ship-boy on the high and giddy mast," cherishing refined visions of fancy at the hour which he may casually snatch from fatigue and danger! His poem has the sensible charm of appearing a transcript of reality, ami from its vividness and power of description, powerfully interests the feelings, and leaves a deep impression oL truth and nature on the mind.
THE VESSEL GOING TO PIECES. DEATH OF ALI1ERT. THE COM-
With mournful look the seamen eyed the strand
Those who remain their fearful doom await,
The heart that bleeds with sorrows all its own,
Forgets the pangs of friendship to bemoan.—
Albert and Rodmond and Palemon here,
With young Arion, on the mast appear;
Even they, amid th' unspeakable distress,
In every look distracting thoughts confess;
In every vein the refluent blood congeals,
And every bosom fatal terror feels.
Inclosed with all the demons of the main,
They view'd th' adjacent shore, but view'd in vain.
Such torments in the drear abodes of hell,
Where sad despair laments with rueful yell,
Such torments agonize the damned breast,
While fancy views the mansions of the blest
For Heaven's sweet help their suppliant cries implore,
But Heaven, relentless, deigns to help no more!
And now, lash'd on by destiny severe, With horror fraught, the dreadful scene drew near! The ship hangs hovering on the verge of dw.h, Hell yawns, rocks rise, and breakers roar beneath 1— In vain, alas! the sacred shades of yore Would arm the mind with philosophic lore; In vain they'd teach us, at the latest breath, To smile serene amid the pangs of death. E'en Zeno's self, and Epictetus old, Tliis fell abyss had shudder'd to behold. Had Socrates, for god-like virtue tamed, And wisest of the sons of men proclaim'd, Beheld this scene of frenzy and distress, His soul had trembled to its last recess!— O yet confirm my heart, ye powers above, This last tremendous shock of fate to prove. The tottering frame of reason yet sustain! Nor let this total ruin whirl my brain I
In vain the cords and axes were prepared, For now th' audacious seas insult the yard; High o'er the ship they throw a horrid shade And o'er her burst, in terrible cascade. Uplifted on the surge, to heaven she flies, Her shatter'd top half buried in the skies, Then headlong plunging, thunders on the ground, Earth groans! air trembles! and the deeps resound! Her giant bulk the dread concussion feels, And quivering with the wound, in torment reels; So reels, convulsed with agonizing throes, The bleeding bull beneath the murd'rer's blows.— Again she plunges! hark I a second shock Tears her strong bottom on the marble rock! Down on the vale of death, with dismal cries, The fated victims shuddering roll their eyes In wild despair; while yet another stroke, With deep convulsion, rends the solid oak; Till like the mine, in whose infernal cell The lurking demons of destruction dwell,
At length asunder torn, her frame divides,
As o'er the surge the stooping main-mast hung,
Next, 0 unhappy chief! th' eternal doom Of Heaven decreed thee to the briny tomb I What scenes of misery torment thy view 1 What painful struggles of thy dying crew! Thy perish'd hopes all buried in the flood, O'erspread with corses I red with human blood! So pierced with anguish hoary Priam gazed, When Troy's imperial domes in ruin blazed; While he, severest sorrow doom'd to feel, Kxpired beneath the victor's murdering steeL Thus with his helpless partners till the last, Sad refuge! Albert hugs the floating mast; His soul could yet sustain the mortal blow, But droops, alas! beneath superior woe: For now soft nature's sympathetic chain Tugs at his yearning heart with powerful strain, His faithful wife for ever doom'd to mourn For him, alas! who never shall return; To black adversity's approach exposed, With want and hardships unforeseen enclosed: His lovely daughter left without a friend, Her innocence to succor and defend; By youth and indigence set forth a prey To lawless guilt, that flatters to betray— While these reflections rack his feeling mind, Rodmond, who hung beside, his grasp resign'd; And, as the tumbling waters o'er him roll'd, His out-stretch'd arms the master's legs enfold.— Sad Albert feels the dissolution near, And strives in vain his fetter'd limbs to clear; For death bids every clinching joint adhere. All-faint, to heaven he throws his dying eyes, And, "O protect my wife and child!" he cries: The gushing streams roll back th' unfinish'd sound 1 He gasps! he dies! and tumbles to the gro-.nd I
CATHERINE TALBOT. 1720—1770.
Cathebtite Talbot, the only daughter of Rev. Edward Talbot, Archdeacon of Berks, was born in the year 1720. She early exhibited strong marks of a feeling heart, a warm imagination, and a powerful understanding. To these natural talents were added all tho advantages of a thorough education founded on Christian principles. In 1741 she was introduced to the cele brated Miss Elizabeth Carter,1 with whom she maintained the most close and intimate friendship to the close of her life. At what age she began to write for die public eye, does not appear; but it is certain that her talents and at tainments early introduced her into a valuable literary acquaintance, of which Archbishop Seeker, and Dr. Butler, the author of^he "Analog}-," may bo named. But great as were her talents, and brilliant as her accomplishments, Bhe possessed qualities of infinitely more importance both to herself and society. Her piety was deep and ardent: it was the spring of all her actions, as its rewards was the object of all her hopes. Her life, however, affords but little scope for narrative; passing on in a smooth, equable tenor, without dangers or adventures. But she was not of a strong constitution, and the disease to which she had long been subject—a cancer—at length made rapid strides upon her delicate frame, and she expired on the 9th of January, 1770.
Tho chief publications of Miss Talbot are, "Reflections on the Seven Days of the Week," which have passed through numerous editions, twentysix "Essays," five "Dialogues," three "Prose Pastorals," a "Fairy Tale,"' three "Imitations of Ossian," two "Allegories," No. 30 of the "Rambler," and a few "Poems;" all of which may be read with great profit, as the production of one who possessed the most exquisite qualities both of the head and heart.*
A SENSE OF GOD'S PRESENCE.
Let me ask myself, as in the sight of God, what is the general turn of my temper, and disposition of my mind? My most trifling words and actions are observed by Him: and every thought is naked to His eye. Could I suppose the king, or any the greatest person I have any knowledge of, were within reach of observing my common daily behaviour, though unseen by me, should I not be very particularly careful to preserve it, in every respect, decent and becoming? Should I allow myself in any little froward humors? Should I not be ashamed to appear peevish and ill-natured? Should I use so much as one harsh or unhandsome expression even to my equal, or my meanest inferior, even were I ever so much provoked? Much less should I behave irreverently to my parents or superiors. This awful Being, in whom I live and move, and from whom no obscurity can hide me, by whom the very hairs of my head are all numbered, He knows the obligations of every relation in life. He sees in their full light the
1 This lady died In 1806, consequenUy beyond the period (IBM) to which I have been obliged to reatrlct myself In the preparation of this work, In order to do any Justice to our earlier w rttera.
» Bead—edition of her works, by Rev. M. Pennington;—a noUce of her life in Drake s Essays, vol v , and some noUccs In Sir F.gerlon Bryilges's " Centura Llterarta."