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He afterwards composed a more elegant and pathetic tribute to her virtues, which may be found among his poems. The allusion to the cause of her death is an original thought introduced with great skill and tenderness.
During Mrs. Langhorne's life, he produced one poem only, entitled Precepts of Conjugal Happiness, addressed to Mrs. Nelthorpe, a sister of his wife. To this lady he committed the care of his infant child, who has lived to acknowledge her
, friendship, and to discharge the duties of an affectionate son, by the late Memoirs of his father, prefixed to an elegant edition of his poems.-In the Precepts of Con. jugal Happiness, there is more good sense than poetry. It appears to have been a temporary effusion on which he bestowed no extraordinary pains.
Not long after Mrs. Langhorne's death, our author went to reside at Folke. stone in Kent where his brother, the rev. William Langhorne, then officiated as minister, a man of a very amiable character. He was born in the year 1721, and presented by the archbishop of Canterbury to the rectory of Hakinge, with the per. petual curacy of Folkestone, in 1754, and on this preferment he passed the res mainder of his life. He published Job, a poem ; and a poetical paraphrase on a part of Isaiah ; neither of which raised him to the fame of a poet, although they are
; not without the merit of correctness and spirit. He died Feb. 17, 1772, and his brother wrote some elegant lines to his memory, which are inscribed on a tablet in the chancel of Folkestone church 3.
Between these brothers the closest affection subsisted; each was to other more the friend than brother of his heart.” During their residence together at Folkestone, they were employed in preparing a new translation of Plutarch's lives: and our poet, who became about this time intimate with Scott, the poet of Amwell (who likewise had just lost a beloved wife from a similar cause), paid him a visit at Amwell, where he wrote the Monody inscribed to Mr. Scott.
Amidst these engagements he found leisure to give to the world two produc. tions strongly marked by the peculiarities of his style and turn of thinking: the : one entitled Frederick and Pharamond, or the Consolations of Human Life, 8vo.;
the other, Letters supposed to have passed between M. de St. Evremond and Waller. In this last, while he was allowed to have preserved their characters tolerably, he was at the same time accused by the critic in the Monthly Review, of taking frequent opportunities to compliment himself on the merit of the letters he had writ. ten for St. Evremond and Waller. This produced a complaint from Langhorpe, which was answered by the reviewer, respectfully indeed, but not in the manner that might have been expected from an associate. It is from this circumstance that I have been led to conjecture that his connexion with the Review ceased when he left London in consequence of his obtaining the living of Blagden.-Frederick and Pharamond was begun with a view to alleviate the afflictions of a friend, and pursued perhaps to alleviate his own. It attempts that by argument which is rarely accomplished but by time.
The translation of Plutarch, by the brothers, appeared in 1770, and soon be. came a very popular book. In 1771, Dr. Langhorne gave another proof of the pariety on which he exercised his fancy, in a favourite little volume, entitled the
* Gent. Mag. vol. 74. p. 1001. C.
Fables of Flora. In this, although he claimed too hastily the merit of combining for the first time imagery, description, and sentiment, yet he has certainly enlarged the province of fable, and given proof of a wide range of imagination. It cannot however be denied, that the moral is not always sufficiently pointed, that the style is too much ornamented, and the general cast of sentiment too obscure, for the persons in whose hands fables are usually placed. In answer to the objection made to the language of flowers, his son very justly remarks, that “imper. sonation may certainly be applied with as much reason to the vegetable as to the animal creation, if the characteristic attributes of each plant or flower are faithfully marked, and the unity of the fable is maintained.”
Towards the latter end of the year 1771, Dr. Langhorne went to reside for a few months at Potton in Bedfordshire, where he wrote his Origin of the Veil, which, however, was not published for some time after. In 1772, he paid a visit to his native country, and married a second wife, the daughter of — Thomson, esq. a magistrate near Brough, and soon after took her with him on a tour through part of France and Flanders, the scenery of which afforded new topics for his muse.
Late in the spring he returned to Blagden, where he was put into the commis, sion of the peace; and having considered the usual practice of the duties of that office, he imparted his sentiments on the subject in a species of didactic and satirical poem, entitled The Country Justice, in three parts, published in 1774, 1775, and 1777. This humane endeavour to plead the cause of the poor and wretched against oppression and neglect, does great honour to his feelings, which, indeed, in all his works, are on the side of benevolence and virtue. It is said to have been written in consequence of the suggestion, and as to facts, probably with the as. sistance, of Dr. Burn, the well-known author of a Digest of the Laws relating to Justices of the Peace.-In 1773, Dr. Langhorne presented the public with a libe. ral translation of that part of Denina on the Ancient Republics of Italy, which contaios the author's reflections on the admission of the Italian states to the fraa. chises of Rome".
In 1776, he lost his second wife, who died like the former, in child-bed, fire years after her marriage, and left a daughter whom he consigned by his will to the protection of his friend, Mrs. Gillman. What impression this second interruption to domestic happiness produced on his mind, we are not told. In this year, how. ever, we find him again employing the press in a Translation of Milton's Italian Sonnets, and on two occasional sermons. In 1777, at the request of the Bourerie family (who highly respected Dr. Langhorne), Dr. Moss, bishop of Bath and Wells, presented him with a prebend in the cathedral of Wells.
His last production was the tale of Owen of Carron, which, with some beauties, has less of his usual energy apd vigour: it is uncertain whether this was owing to the nature of the poem, in which he conceived it necessary to imitate the ballad simplicity, or to a languor of body and mind. The death of the right hon. Charles Yorke, from whom he had great expectations, is said to have made a
• The author's object in this publication is not very obvious. In our days it might be of more importance to discuss the question, by what means the Romans acquired their superiority and were enabled to extend their conquests ?. C.
lasting impression on him, but as Mr. Yorke died in 1770, this seems wholly improbable.
His biographer passes over his last days without notice of his situation or em. ployments. We are merely told that he died on April 1, 1779, in the forty-fifth year of his age.
In 1804, his son published an edition of his poems, in two elegant volumes 12mo. with memoirs of the Author. To these I am indebted for the principal part of this sketch.
If we may judge from his writings, Dr. Langhorne was a man of an amiable disposition, a friend to religion and morals, and though a wit, he never descends to grossness or indelicacy. His memory has not been followed by any worse ob. jection than that he was of a social turn, and during the latter part of his life more addicted to convivial indulgences than is consistent with health. This, how. ever, is a serious objection, and not much lessened by the supposition that he was driven to this unhappy species of relief by having twice lost the chief source of domestic happiness.
Incidental notice having been already taken of many of his pieces, it will not be necessary to enlarge on the subject in this place. Ease, elegance, and tenderDess, are the most striking features of his poetry: nor is he deficient in invention ; an attentive perasal will discover many original sentiments, and spirited flights, which the critics of his day pointed out with high praise. He is very seldom a copyist; his style and his sentiments, whatever their merit, are his own.
His prose works are various enough to convince us that he was either a labo. rious writer, or possessed of great fertility of imagination, and the latter will pro. bably be the safest conjecture. But, although a scholar of high attainments, he has rarely brought learning to his aid. His mind was stored with remarks on men and manners, which he expressed in various and desultory modes, so as to give an air of novelty to every thing he wrote, but we find nothing very profound. He appeared so frequently before the public as to secure a considerable degree of fame; what he announced was expected with eagerness, and what he published was read with pleasure ; but as his abilities were confined to the lighter provinces of literature, there are few of his productions which will be honoured by permanent popularity.
DR. JOHN LANGHORNE.
TO THE REV. MR. J. LANGHORNE, ON READING HIS For thee may Fame her fairest chaplets twin VISIONS OF FANCY, &c.
Each fragrant bloom that paints Aon:
brow, BY MISS WHATELEY.
Each flow'r, that blows by Alcidale, be thine ; FRAUGHT with each wish the friendly breast can With the chaste laurel's never-fading boug! form,
On thee may faithful friendship’s cordial sm, A simple Muse, O! Langhorne, would intrude;
Attendant wait to sooth each rising care ; Her lays are languid, but her heart is warm, Though not with Fancy's potent powers endu'd. The nymph thou lov'st be thine devoid of guit
Mild, virtuous, kind, compassionate, and fa Fancy, though erst she shed a glimmering ray,
May thy sweet lyre still charm the generis And op'd to fairy scenes my infant eye,
mind, From Pain and Care, has wing'd her cheerful
Thy liberal Muse the patriot spirit raise; way,
While, in thy page to latest time consign'd, And with Hygeia sought a milder sky.
Virtue receives the meed of polish'd praise No more my trembling hand attempts the lyre, Which Shenstone oft (sweet bard) has deign'd
to praise; Even tuneful Laughorne's friendship fails t'inspire SONNET TO MR. LANGHORNE, The glow that warm’d my breast in happier days.
BY JOHN SCOTT, ESQ. Yet not this cold heart can remain unmov'd, LANGHORNE, unknown to me (sequester'd swa!)
When thy sweet numbers strike my raptur'd Save by the Muse's soul-enchanting lay, The silver sounds, by erry Muse approv'd, Cear; To kindred spirits never sung in vain, Suspend a while the melancholy tear,
Accept the tribute of this light essay; What time, on Arrowe's osier'd banks reclinod,
Due for thy sweet songs that amus'd my day! I to the pale Moon pour'd thy plaintive lay; Where Fancy held her visionary reigo, (stain Smooth roll'd the waves, more gently sigh’d the Or Scotland's honours claim'd the pastral wind,
Or Music came o'er Handel tears to pay: And Echo stole the tender notes away.
For all thy Irwan's flow'ry banks display Sweet Elves and Pays, that o'er the shadowy
Thy Persian lover and his Indian fair; plains
All Theodosius' mournful lines convey, Their mystic rites and mazy dance pursue, Where Pride and Ar’rice part a matarless Tun'd their light minstrelsy to softer strains,
pair; And from thy lays their melting music drew.
Receive just praise and wreaths that ne'er decay, Suéet son of Fancy! may the white-rob’d Hours By Fame and Virtue twin'd for thee to wear.
Shed their kind in Auence on thy gentle breast; Amwell, near Ware, May Hebe strew thy vernal path with flow'rs,
16 March, 1766. Blest in thy love, and in thy friendship blest. Smooth as thy numbers may thy years advance, Pale Care and Pain their speeding darts sus- TO THE HON. CHARLES YORKE.
pend; May Health, and Fancy, lead the cheerful dance, Ą Muse that lov'd in Nature's walks to stray,
And Hope for ever her fair torch extend. And gather'd many a wild lower in her way,